Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Trade Rumors

5 Kyle Kuzma trades that could help the Lakers

The Lakers trading Kyle Kuzma ahead of the NBA trade deadline might be their best chance to secure a title run but what deals could they make?

As the NBA trade deadline and All-Star break approach, the Los Angeles Lakers sit in the catbird seat of the Western Conference. With a 36-10 start to the season, they own the No. 1 seed with a 3.5-game cushion at the top. It’s safe to say that LeBron James and Anthony Davis are in position to make a run at an NBA Championship. But the big question will be if Kyle Kuzma makes that run with the superstar duo.

In his third season in the league at 24 years old, Kuzma is on an extremely team-friendly contract with the Lakers, making under $2 million for the 2019-20 season. Having said that, his hot-and-cold performance — in addition to some off-court/social media drama — has led to speculation that he could be dealt at the NBA trade deadline to supplement the roster around James and Davis.

There are a couple of factors that go into a potential Kyle Kuzma trade, however. First, his minuscule salary means that the Lakers will have to send other pieces (likely combinations of future draft picks, DeMarcus Cousins’ expiring contract, Avery Bradley and Quinn Cook) along with Kuzma to get a trade done. Furthermore, the roster clearly needs guard help but they may not look to trade for that assistance as Darren Collison is a strong possibility to sign with the purple and gold.

Additionally, there’s no guarantee that they want to trade Kuzma. After all, he’s a talented young asset on a cheap contract, which they may want to keep around. But if they do decide to make an aggressive move at the NBA trade deadline that includes Kuzma, these five trades would help the Lakers in their championship plight.

5. Morris or less

Lakers Get

F Marcus Morris

Knicks Get

F Kyle Kuzma

G Avery Bradley

C DeMarcus Cousins

Knicks also receive a future second-round pick in trade.

Trading for Marcus Morris would be complicated from the jump for the simple fact that Morris has expressed an interest in remaining with the New York Knicks while his current team appears content to hang onto him. If Los Angeles were to get on the phone with Kyle Kuzma on the table, however, that tune might change.

Morris is currently playing arguably the best basketball of his career, averaging 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting an extremely impressive 45 percent from beyond the 3-point line. And while the lowly Knicks would love to keep a player performing at that level, Morris is also on an expiring contract, which doesn’t exactly fit into the plans of a team clearly not built to succeed in the immediate future.

The Lakers, on the other hand, have NBA Championship aspirations and Morris could help with that. His 3-point shooting efficiency, which has been among the best in the league this season, would drastically improve the shooting around James and Davis and open the floor for those two to operate. Furthermore, Morris can get his own shot and be a plus defender come the postseason.

Because of Morris’ $15 million salaries, the Lakers would have to send several contracts and a future pick to sweeten the deal along with Kuzma. However, such a move would address some of the biggest concerns with LA’s roster right now and improve their chances of playoff success.

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