It’s not going to be a popular opinion, but with the way things are going, here is why the Los Angeles Lakers should trade away Kyle Kuzma this summer.
If you’re the front office of the Los Angeles Lakers, how you feel about the direction of the team should be a feeling of confliction. A year ago, Magic Johnson got the job as team president, and since then only a little bit has changed.
The chances of losing the locker room has gone up as well as the hype for the free agency period that Johnson thinks will change everything.
Because it is the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s easy to fall into a funk where it’s believable that every and any free agent on the planet would consider the team when they have an opportunity to choose where to take their talents next.
But Paul George looks happy in Oklahoma City, and LeBron James has real, ready contenders like Houston as options instead of joining forces in Los Angeles.
The trading situation with Kyle Kuzma comes into play if the team can only get one or no big name free agents and comes in an act of desperation, in a way. Even with the drama that comes with the Ball family, Johnson doesn’t seem sold on getting rid of Ball even if the return is still high and he could get someone like Devin Booker from Phoenix.
If you offer Kuzma to teams either in a swap or as part of a big trade package, there are a number of teams that were kicking themselves for not picking Kuzma up before the Lakers got him with the 27th overall pick that would love to make a deal.
More specifically, I am thinking of the Utah Jazz. They’ve got themselves a tremendous rookie guard in Donovan Mitchell, but if the Lakers come calling for a trade and offer Kyle Kuzma, that might be the only guy in the league they they’d even consider dealing Mitchell for.
If a deal were to go down, it’d be a two player swap where Mitchell, along with Jae Crowder, would be sent to LA in return for Kyle Kuzma and Channing Frye. Frye is a solid player, but it’s still uncertain as to what his role will be in Los Angeles beyond this season.
This gives the Los Angeles Lakers flexibility when addng Frye to the deal, but they’d be giving up on the potential of Kuzma. However, without Lonzo Ball on the court, Kuzma has been a much different player — and not for the better.
The Jazz would be inclined both because of Kuzma’s abilities on the court as well as the fact that he played college ball in Salt Lake City and would be great for the local fan base. Getting Mitchell in return is going to take some negotiation, but if Magic Johnson was serious on getting Paul George to the Lakers, this should be a cake walk in comparison.