Pacers: Why Indiana should get involved in the Kyle Kuzma trade talks
Although Kuzma was regarded as a future franchise cornerstone after his franchise season, the Lakers are desperate to win a title this year, especially after reports surfaced of Anthony Davis’ rejection of a max extension with the Purple and Gold.
Kuzma has been relegated to a bench scoring role this season, so he may be expendable for the right price. The question is, who might have the pieces to get a deal done?
One interesting team to watch is the Indiana Pacers, a squad looking to make a run at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers are loaded with talent. Their decision to sign Malcolm Brogdon has paid dividends, and their extension of Domantas Sabonis is already looking like a bargain. Not to mention, Victor Oladipo will make his long-awaited return to action at the end of the month.
However, the Pacers still have personnel issues.
Sabonis and center Myles Turner are not very complimentary players on the interior. Although Turner is shooting a respectable .353 from beyond the arc, he has very little impact on the boards because he spends so much time on the perimeter, which also probably disrupts Indiana’s floor spacing.
Kuzma has actually been more inefficient than Turner from beyond the arc, but he still forces opposing defenses to respect him because of his ability to make plays off the dribble.
Do not forget Kuzma averaged 18.1 points last season. He is a bonafide scorer when he gets extended run, and he might be a better fit for the Pacers in the long run.
Can Pacers get a deal done?
The Lakers retained Kuzma in the Anthony Davis trade. They are not about to accept a light return, even if his role has been significantly diminished this year.
Fortunately, the Pacers are a fairly logical match for L.A.’s needs. The Lakers are reportedly looking for a backup point guard, and Pacers youngster Aaron Holiday is having a breakout season.
Holiday is averaging 10.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds while shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. However, he is more expendable once Oladipo returns from injury.
The Pacers could send a package involving Holiday and possibly some future picks in exchange for Kuzma. Would that be enough to get a deal done? It probably should be sufficient.
Holiday could be the point guard of the future in Los Angeles. He is only 23 years old, and has taken a big step forward in just his second season. There is plenty of room for growth defensively, but Holiday has a ton of upside as a scoring point guard that can also make plays and rebound.
By acquiring Kuzma, Indiana could subsequently look to flip Turner while moving Sabonis into the starting center role. Sure, it would be quite the roster shakeup, but that might be what the Pacers need if they hope to challenge the Milwaukee Bucks in the East.