Los Angeles Lakers second-year forward Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points on Wednesday night, leading his team to 113-100 victory over the Detroit Pistons without LeBron James. A steal at the end of the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma has been the Lakers’ second best player this season.
Kuzma has averaged 19 points and 6 rebounds per game on 47 percent shooting for Los Angeles this year, doing his job as a very proficient scorer. With Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball struggling offensively, Kuzma has stepped up tremendously.
However, anytime a player of LeBron James’ magnitude is on a team, trade rumors will naturally circulate. There is speculation around the league that the Lakers could package pieces of their young core — including Kuzma- – to try and acquire another superstar.
Although this isn’t expected to happen, Kuzma’s trade value is at an all-time high right now. If the Lakers want to make a move for a player like Anthony Davis, now would be the time to explore their options.
Teams would certainly be interested in trade packages with Kyle Kumza as the featured piece. Although LeBron James’ absence is hurting the Lakers on the court, it has been a positive for Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and other players’ value, as they now have to do more.
Ultimately, with Kuzma’s value so high at the moment, the Los Angeles Lakers have a prime opportunity to try and land a big name player, such as Anthony Davis.
A trade for Anthony Davis would certainly shake things up in the NBA. Davis is arguably the best big man in the NBA and a surefire MVP candidate every year, averaging 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game on the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans are 20-22 on the season despite Davis’ efforts night-in and night-out, which is a sign that they may be looking to rebuild their roster with young talent for the future. Davis is young himself — just 25-years old — but his career and talent is currently being wasted in New Orleans.
Unless the Pelicans make drastic moves to better their roster around Davis, they will simply just not be able to compete in the loaded West behind just one guy. This opens the door for another team to try and make a trade for AD. For the Los Angeles Lakers to add Davis, they would have to give up a lot of assets, though it may be worth it.
A package of Kuzma, Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a couple of first round picks is very attractive and could be tough for the Pelicans to turn down. Both sides would benefit from this deal.
The Lakers would get their superstar to pair with James, and both would be together for at least the next four years. LeBron has never really played with a big man of Davis’ caliber in his long career, so it would be extremely interesting to see how the pairing would work out. With the addition of Davis, the Lakers would be much improved and contenders in the West for the foreseeable future.
Even when LeBron’s four-year contract ends and he turns 37, Davis would just be turning 29 and still in his prime. A deal like this works out in the long-term for both teams.
The Pelicans would also get the ability too rebuild around a young nucleus of ex-Laker teammates — Kuzma, Ingram, Zubac, and Julius Randle. The Lakers would instantly become title contenders this year behind a dynamic duo of Davis and LeBron James.
Will the Lakers make a deal?
However, this is completely speculative and fully depends on the trade value of Kyle Kuzma right now. Kuzma should be the featured piece in any package the Lakers can put together, as they would be smart to keep Lonzo Ball around.
A lineup of Ball, Josh Hart, James and Davis has the potential to grow together and be very formidable. The Lakers would be losing a bit of depth in their rotation in a deal like this, but that’s something that can be replaced through smaller trades, buyouts, and free agent acquisitions.
Again, Kuzma is the key for the Los Angeles Lakers. A second-year player of his caliber is not common to find, and his innate scoring ability makes his superstar ceiling very high.
Kuzma has been inconsistent from the field often in his young career, which is to be expected for a young player who’s game is predicated on scoring the basketball. Nevertheless, Kuzma’s ceiling is extremely high and he will be a sought-after player for teams to get in return if the Lakers do indeed go star-hunting.