The 2019-20 NBA trade deadline is less than a month away so the rumor mill is beginning to heat up across the league.
The Los Angeles Lakers don’t have much to offer as far as trade pieces go, but the one asset who undoubtedly is the most intriguing is Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma is the one young player the Lakers retained in the Anthony Davis trade and many view him as the team’s best hope at a true third option. He’s also still on his rookie contract so the Lakers have a quality player on a cheap deal.
However, with such few assets and potential needs at other positions, it only makes sense that teams would check on Kuzma’s availability. And according to Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers have been willing to listen on any offers coming their way:
As our Shams Charania reported Friday, teams are monitoring his situation and wondering whether he can be had before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. What’s more, sources now say the Lakers have shown a recent willingness to listen to pitches for Kuzma.
The Lakers listening to offers makes sense and in no way means they are looking to deal Kuzma. It is up to a front office to explore any avenues when it comes to improving the team and that is likely what general manager Rob Pelinka is doing in this case.
Kuzma has gotten off to a slow start during the 2019-20 NBA season with injuries hampering his ability to work out in the offseason and participate in training camp. It has also taken him some time to adjust to a new role with Anthony Davis now in the fold as well. A recent social media post by his trainer — that seemed to call out LeBron James also had some wondering if there was a rift between Kuzma and him — but that doesn’t seem to be the case:
As for James, whose influence and voice should never be overlooked in situations like this, a source with knowledge of his thinking said he remains supportive of Kuzma — even after a social media snafu with Kuzma’s trainer, who threw shade LeBron’s way after the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers and inspired the understandable questioning of Kuzma by the media in Lakers Land a day later.
Kuzma’s name popping up in trade rumors is nothing new to him as he has been discussed in prior seasons as well. Add to that the Lakers traded basically all of their assets away in the Davis trade and just about any time a potential trade is brought up, it is sure to involve Kuzma.
Thankfully, Kuzma is accustomed to the chatter and won’t let that bother him as he is finally starting to find a groove this season and has played better recently, so this is unlikely to affect him in any major way.