The Los Angeles Lakers enter deadline week at the top of the Western Conference. At 37-11, they’ve got a 3.5 game lead on the Los Angeles Clippers for first place. Things are going well for LeBron James and Co. in 2019-20. So you’d think a team like this wouldn’t be selling at the deadline, right? WRONG. Kuzma hasn’t been a big part of the Lakers’ success this season and has mostly shined with LeBron and Anthony Davis off the court — which isn’t often. Because Kuzma is still on his rookie deal and isn’t a RFA until 2021-22, his value is at its peak.
Will Kyle Kuzma get traded before the deadline?
While the Lakers have gotten by with Kuzma underperforming most of the season, I think he’s still valuable to the franchise. There is also an issue of depth behind LeBron and AD. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee are both aging bigs. Could either play significant minutes if James or AD were to miss time down the stretch or in the playoffs? It’s not ideal. So I think the general idea for the Lakers is hold onto Kuzma in case something happens to LeBron or AD. In a scenario in which L.A. loses one superstar, having Kuzma around would help the team remain competitive. James has won with less. As much as it makes sense to trade Kuzma, I think in the end he’ll stay put.
Prediction: Won’t be traded.