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NBA trade rumors: Lakers, Kings discussing Buddy Hield deal

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The Los Angeles Lakers have their eye on a third play-maker, but their limited trade assets won’t make it easy to land a true All-Star. However, there could be one realistic target just up north: Sacramento Kings wing Buddy Hield.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Lakers, as has been previously speculated, are interested in veteran wings like Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Spencer Dinwiddie. The Kings sharpshooter, though, has emerged as a potentially attainable option for Los Angeles.

“The Lakers and Sacramento Kings have discussed a deal centered on guard Buddy Hield,” Charania writes. “Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma would be involved in a potential package…The Lakers have received interest from several teams regarding Kuzma.”

Charania’s report hit around the same time ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “Woj and Lowe” that the Lakers have aggressively shopped Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope around the league. Both players are under 30 and on reasonable contracts ($13 million annually).

“Almost every team I’ve talked to in the league has been offered some combination of Kuz and KCP,” Woj said.

It’s been no secret: the Lakers want to upgrade the third-banana spot around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, ideally via a Kuzma-centered trade. Then, they could either re-sign Dennis Schroder using Bird rights (depending on how much luxury tax they want to pay), let him walk, or sign-and-trade him.

The Lakers will likely overpay to keep free agent guards Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul would be a dream pick-up for Los Angeles, but it would require the Suns front office to be remarkably generous to the Lakers or for Paul to take a massive pay cut.

Hield doesn’t necessarily bolster the Lakers’ ball-handling and play-making (for others), but he does address the Lakers’ most critical area of need: shooting. At exit interviews, Pelinka said his priority is to improve the team’s spacing this offseason and clear out the lane for LeBron and AD. The Lakers have been amongst the least-prolific perimeter shooting teams in the NBA over the past two seasons.

Hield, 28, has averaged 18.9 points per game over the past three seasons with the Kings. He shot 40.3% on over nine three-point attempts per game in 2020-21. The Lakers would sacrifice defense in a Kuzma-and-KCP-for-Hield swap, but the offensive boost may very well be worth it. Frank Vogel nearly always produces staunch Ds, no matter what.

Hield is due $22 million in 2021-22 — the second of a four-year, $94 million contract.

KCP shot a career-best 41% from downtown in 2020-21 on 4.4 attempts per game, though he can’t single-handedly take over a game and create his own shot like Hield.

It’s possible the Lakers would have to throw in a draft-pick sweetener in a deal. Their 2021 first-round pick (No. 22, and not eligible to be traded until after the draft) would be an expensive addition to the trade. L.A. can trade their 2027 first-rounder and numerous second-rounders over the next half-decade.

A Kings-Lakers trade would reunite Kuzma with head coach Luke Walton, from whom Kuzma played the first two seasons of his career, averaging 17.3 PPG.