Kyle Kuzma is already drawing interest from multiple teams if the Lakers decide to move on from the forward. He’s a coveted asset whom the team could trade in order to land a third player and start constructing a new identity. There are quite a few from which to choose, so we came up with the top five trades that make sense for the Lakers.
1. Buddy Hield
Hield averaged just under 16 points/game, but his style of play fits like a glove in purple and gold. With LeBron and Anthony Davis spending most their time in the paint, having a third wheel who can shoot would create a problem for the rest of the league. Opposing teams can’t send a double-team like they tried (and failed) to do in 2020 since Buddy Hield requires a defender at arm’s length all game. Current Lakers shooting guard Danny Green didn’t instill that fear, as opponents routinely send double teams off a player who’s job is to shoot.
Buddy Hield shoots over 41% from deep, so helping off him won’t be an option.
2. Zach LaVine
It’ll be much harder to swing a trade for LaVine because the Bulls don’t have much else to rely on if they send him packing. The 25-year-old guard shoots the deep ball at a 37.5% clip, a skill that all teams need. Defense has been an issue for LaVine, but Anthony Davis should be able to mask his deficiencies.
A late season surge from rookie point guard Coby White could make dealing a ball-dominant Zach LaVine more attractive. Also wouldn’t hurt having an AD-LaVine duo going forward after LeBron retires.
Zach LaVine makes this dunk look way too easy🔥pic.twitter.com/dx7Jh6Yj9R— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 9, 2020
3. Chris Paul
Seeing Chris Paul’s name in a rumor with the Lakers stings after his original deal was vetoed in 2011, but it’s still not a crazy idea. LeBron and Paul’s friendship would likely remedy any issues they would have as ball dominant players. CP3 has earned plenty of respect, even from LeBron, and could take over ball handling duties with the game on the line.
Paul’s contract with the Thunder is awful, and the Lakers should be able to make the money work. Dealing Kuzma as the centerpiece of a deal that sends Danny Green’s contract with him could help offset the money. Of course the Lakers always have the option of the buy-out market, but the Knicks would surely swoop in if it came to that.
According to a league executive on the possibility of the Lakers pursuing a Chris Paul trade;— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 15, 2020
“Chris Paul would love to come back to L.A. I know it would be a dream come true for Chris…I know LeBron loves and trusts him, and he would be a good fit.”
– (Via @EricPincus) pic.twitter.com/esg7sat1VT
4. Terrance Ross
Ross is a high-flying forward that can help space the floor and give the Lakers another option on the break. LeBron and Alex Caruso were a deadly break duo this year, and adding a slam dunk contest winner to the mix sounds even deadlier. Stopping a LeBron/AD/Ross break may almost be impossible. Kyle Kuzma was wildly underwhelming on the break and in open catch and shoot opportunities. Kuzma’s flaws happen to be Terrence Ross’ strengths.
Terrance Ross with the filthy reverse. 😤 pic.twitter.com/KrY6yA3kEB— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) February 15, 2019
5. PJ Tucker
The Lakers would likely only grab PJ Tucker as a short term move. At 35-years-old, Tucker walks in with a win-now mentality and has a unique ability to stay healthy. PJ hasn’t missed a game in three seasons running and has played most of this season as a 6’5″ center in the Rockets’ small ball lineup. He would allow for Anthony Davis and LeBron to forgo guarding the opposition’s best player, like they did in 2020, and save energy for the offensive end.
PJ Tucker’s defense on LeBron & AD in the 4th quarter! pic.twitter.com/VokCqJ0RoE— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) September 5, 2020
Don’t forget Tucker shot 36% from deep this year and is practically a dunk from the corner. His contract would allow the Lakers to win now and then pivot towards pairing AD with another star after LeBron leaves.
Despite a disappointing season out of Kyle, there is still plenty of interest in him around the league. The Lakers have a big decision and a draft coming up. Time to have some fun.