The Los Angeles Lakers have no choice but to hold on to Kyle Kuzma. Last season, Kuzma, along with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram was almost traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis during the 2019 trade deadline. However, the deal fell through at the last minute and Kuzma kept his spot in LA. But now, the Lakers are rolling and the front office may seek players with playoff experience for the final stretch run to end the season.
Trading Kuzma is an awful idea on a few levels. For one, he has performed well considering his on-court time has dropped from 33.1 minutes (2018) to 22.8 (2019). In that span, his scoring average has taken a dip from 18.7 (2018) to 11.1 (2019). But that was expected with James and Davis now wearing Purple & Gold.
Despite his decrease in minutes, Kuzma has still found ways to contribute. He’s the leading scoring for the second unit and at times will find himself playing alongside both James and Davis. This is a great learning experience for the young forward as he’s prepared to become a leader for the Lakers in the next few years.
That brings us to the other reason why the Lakers must keep him.
LeBron James, in his second season with the Lakers, is still aging. He has kept his body in great shape but he will still be 35 entering next season. The Lakers are in win-now mode but that doesn’t mean they can’t look toward the future. At one point, they had a young nucleus with Kuzma, Ball, Ingram, and Julius Randle. Now, all that is gone. Rajon Rondo is on his last legs, JaVale McGee can’t be trusted and you never know what you’re going to get with Dwight Howard.
All that leaves is Kuzma and Anthony Davis. And to be honest, no one knows where the wind will take Davis. Something for Lakers’ fans to consider is familiarity with Davis. When James leaves, will Davis still want to remain there? The Lakers, due to their success will not have any hopes of gaining a lottery pick so that means it will come down to overpaying free agents who may not pan out. This is the same issue Davis had with the Pelicans.
After James retires or feels he may want to give a championship run with another team, the Lakers could be looking at a core of Davis and Kuzma and that alone does not scream championship, heck, it may not even mean the playoffs.
Kyle Kuzma could be a good player but one has to wonder if this season’s drop in production has put a damper on his spirits. Let’s not forget, this team was supposed to be handed to him then he has to consider the business side of the NBA and how he was almost traded last season.
Kuzma can say the right things in front of the media but what happens behind closed doors? Winning cures everything and now, if Kuzma is a little down, we’ll never know unless the team begins to struggle.
As with James and any team he’s on, we should expect some type of movement during the NBA trade deadline. But who will be moved or even mentioned to be moved? It would be wise for the front office to keep Kuzma’s name out of it all.
Winning now means everything for James. However, the Los Angeles Lakers must not even think about his needs. Once James departs, the Lakers’ organization will still continue to play games, make money and sell out the Staples Center. It’s just a matter of who will be there to help with that.
Keeping Kuzma in LA should be top priority. Teams will call and may offer a nice sum for the Lakers’ sixth man but they must decline all offers. The Los Angeles Lakers must consider the fact that Davis could walk away after this year as he can decline his team option and join any team he wants. This is why keeping Kyle Kuzma is so important. A title this season would be great but what happens next?
One thing is for sure, the Lakers cannot give up on Kyle Kuzma. He is the future of the team.