But that championship-high might night last as long, considering his name is once again dragged in numerous trade rumors. Heading into his fourth year, the 25-year-old forward is reportedly one of the most sought-after trade assets in the market.
The Lakers are well aware of this and would like to maximize his value in a bid to repeat as champions. Kyle Kuzma still has one-year left in his current contract and is actually eligible for an extension.
The LA brass, however, has yet to show any signs of commitment to the University of Utah product. Kyle Kuzma’s inconsistent showing throughout the 2019-20 campaign does not help his chances to stay in LaLa Land.
The Lakers still won their 17th title in franchise history even with Kyle Kuzma’s rather pedestrian contributions. The Purple and Gold would likely flip him for another player who can fit their system better.
There won’t be any shortage of potential suitors for Kyle Kuzma this offseason. Let’s have a look at five best landing spots for the Lakers forward.
As far personal is concerned, the Lakers reportedly prefer to add another sweet-shooting swingman to their championship core. The Purple and Gold has been linked to SacTown’s shooter Bogdan Bogdanovic since the trade deadline last February.
Kyle Kuzma was believed to be on his way to Sacramento a few months back, but negotiations fell through and he stayed in LA. The Lakers can once again revisit this deal in the offseason. The Serbian sniper will no doubt add another dimension to LA’s brilliant offense and would be a good insurance piece in the event that they lose Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to free agency.
Buddy Hield’s name has also been thrown into the mix, but the Lakers might have to give up more than Kuz for his services.
Kyle Kuzma, meanwhile, will get another chance to be once again be a primary option on offense alongside De’Aaron Fox.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The entire Laker nation is still can’t forget that nixed Chris Paul trade back in 2011. Nine years later, the Purple and Gold actually have another shot of landing the 10-time All-Star and team him up with his “Banana Boat” crew member LeBron James.
Although the Lakers will be getting an older version of CP3, he silenced his critics with his phenomenal outing in the 2019-20 campaign. The only hurdle here is Paul’s massive contract. The Lakers might have to give up a lot to be able to absorb that deal.
A package surrounding Kyle Kuzma might not be enough for OKC to pull the trigger. If this trade miraculously happens, Kuz will get a fresh start much like his former teammates Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell who blossomed into All-Stars after leaving LA.
He will be a good fit for the Thunder’s current young studs led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The Lakers were also reportedly in talks with the Pistons at the deadline to flip Kyle Kuzma for Derrick Rose. Acquiring the one-time league MVP won’t be as complicated as a potential CP3 deal with OKC.
The Lakers, after all, still need another veteran playmaker off the bench. Rose is no longer the elite player he once was, but has proven to still be an effective sparkplug at this stage of his career. Plus, LeBron already teamed up with D-Rose in Cleveland, so he already knows what he’s all about.
A homecoming for Kuzma, on the other hand, might be the best thing for him right now. The Flint, Michigan native would no doubt love to play for his hometown and be given more touches on offense.
The Lakers would love to add a third superstar alongside their unstoppable pairing of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. As far as star power goes, Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal is at the top of their wish list.
The dilemma, of course, is if Washington actually wants to trade Beal. The Wizards star has a player option with the team up until the 2022-23 season. Plus, the team would love to give the Beal-John Wall duo another try next year, with the 5-time All-Star expected to be back to 100 percent.
If Beal ends up being available at some point, the Lakers will have to shell out more than Kyle Kuzma to make it happen.
Kyle Kuzma will feel right at home in DC alongside a long list of former Laker players including Thomas Bryant, Mo Wagner, and Isaac Bonga.
Acquiring Beal might be out of reach for LA, but there’s another All-Star guard in East that is reportedly searching for a new home. Victor Oladipo’s future in Indianapolis remains uncertain and the Lakers should pounce on that.
While he has yet to show his pre-injured form, a player of Oladipo’s caliber would still warrant a lot of players in return. Kyle Kuzma will once again be at the center of a potential deal. The Pacers are also looking to shake things up at the moment in hopes of making noise in the East next season.
Kuz would be a nice frontcourt complement to Domantas Sabonis and adds another dangerous scorer to their team.