In his third season, Kyle Kuzma has had trouble finding his role with the Los Angeles Lakers. With the trade deadline less than three weeks away, it seems highly possible Kuzma will be moved. Memphis, Sacramento, and Chicago are among the teams that could be interested.
3. Memphis Grizzlies
Grizzlies Trade: Grizzlies Trade: Andre Iguodala, 2020 Utah first-round pick, 2022 lottery-protected Memphis first-round pick
The Grizzlies have no intention of giving Andre Iguodala a buy out while Iggy has had no plans of reporting to Memphis. He has a lot of value given his playoff experience, and the Lakers should be interested.
Andre Iguodala would fit in very well with LeBron James and the Lakers as he would likely replace Danny Green in the starting lineup. While he won’t provide scoring consistently, his energy and experience will be a big help for the Lakers. The Grizzlies own Utah’s 2020 first-round pick from the Mike Conley trade. The Lakers have stated that they want a first-round pick and a player, so Iggy and the Utah first fits the bill. Because the Grizzlies have no use for Iguodala, the price to trade him from Memphis’ end goes up. By 2022, the Grizzlies’ first-round pick shouldn’t be as valuable, but they will still want to put a protection on it. The Lakers should be content in getting two first-round picks and a useful player for Kuzma and Green.
The Grizzlies have been on a mission to trade Iguodala and his 17.1M contract, so they don’t have to buy him out. While it will cost them two non-lottery first-round picks, being able to get Kyle Kuzma out of it is a big win. Because Kuzma makes under 2M this season, Danny Green had to be added to the deal to make the contracts even out. If this deal isn’t made too close to the deadline, Memphis may try to flip Danny Green back to a different playoff team for assets. Kuzma, Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke would be a solid young core for the Grizzlies.
2. Sacramento Kings
Lakers Trade: Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green
Bogdan Bogdanovic is having the best season of his career at age 27 on a contract year. While the Kings have expressed interest in wanting to bring him back, Bogdanovic has declined all offers from the team so far.
For the Lakers, moving Kuzma to get two reliable scorers would be a solid move. Nemanja Bjelica is having the best season of his career; he can play Kyle Kuzma’s role, but won’t need to have the ball as much. Bogdanovic can both create his shot, and catch and shoot. He should fit in very nicely with LeBron, and play a more active Danny Green-type role offensively. Defensively, he’s a step back from Green, but he isn’t horrendous either. Acquiring these two would help the Lakers gel offensively.
As for the Kings, having Kuzma, who is signed through next season, gives Sacramento an asset for the future. Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, and acquiring these two players will help them get there. Unlike the other two proposed trades, Sacramento would likely be keeping Danny Green since he has playoff experience. Kuzma will have more opportunities to shoot with Sacramento as they don’t have any dominant scorers besides Buddy Hield. This trade makes sense for both teams in that it will help each gel offensively.
1. Chicago Bulls
Lakers Trade: Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, 2023 First, 2025 First
Bulls Trade: Zach Lavine
The Bulls have a solid young core in Zach Lavine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and Coby White. However, their window for being a contender is still years away. Giving up Lavine and draft picks and Kyle Kuzma would make sense from their end.
The Lakers have been missing a third scoring plug this season outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Kyle Kuzma has heated up on occasion, but he doesn’t fit in with this roster well, so his usage has significantly decreased, and so has his scoring. Lavine, however, can play off the ball and is not someone who needs the ball to be effective. Signed through the end of the 2021-22 season, Lavine is putting up a career-high 24.6 ppg on 44.0% from the field and 40.0% from three. He would replace Danny Green in the starting lineup and should fit in well with LeBron and AD. While Lavine isn’t a “star,” he would give the Lakers the closest thing to a big three in the NBA.
As for the Bulls, trading Lavine for future assets makes sense. In Chicago, Kyle Kuzma will be able to have the ball in his hands more, and he may flourish. The Lakers can’t trade any first-round picks until 2023 due to the Stepien Rule. However, acquiring first-round picks in 2023 and 2025 will help the Bulls down the road. Additionally, with Lavine gone, other guys such as Coby White and Lauri Markkanen will have more opportunities to score. While it will hurt them in the short term, this trade could be beneficial for Chicago down the road. Danny Green makes the contracts work, and Chicago may try to flip him to a contender for more assets.
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