NBA rumors: Lakers could trade for a familiar face to push for playoffs

Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Trade Rumors

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The Lakers are going to take a hard look at every trade possibility between now and the deadline, including a former Laker who has blossomed elsewhere.

The Los Angeles Lakers may have turned the corner, winning nine of their last 15 games with a plus-3.7 point differential. But a rough start to the season has put them in a hole in the deep Western Conference and they could certainly use some help if they’re hoping to even make the playoffs, let alone turn it into a deep postseason run.

The Lakers have been linked to all sorts of players in trade rumors over the past week or two, including Evan Fournier, Cam Reddish, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and Bojan Bogdanovic. However, a former Lakers might be the perfect answer for their current shortcomings.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report recently mentioned the Lakers as a possible trade destination for Kyle Kuzma. His Bleacher Report colleague Chris Haynes said they’ve actually made inquiries with the Wizards on a live stream Wednesday night.

How could the Lakers trade for Kyle Kuzma?

It would probably take Patrick Beverley and their 2027 first-round pick to land Kuzma but there are a few moving parts that could complicate things. Kuzma is going to be highly sought-after and there are other teams who the Lakers could find themselves bidding against, without many levers to significantly improve their offer.

Without involving Russell Westbrook, Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks are really the only trade pieces the Lakers are likely to have at their disposal. That means they’ll also be shopping this package around and if they can turn that package into Bojan Bogdanovic or Myles Turner they’ll have to decide which player they think helps them most in the short- and long-term.

Kuzma is in the midst of a career year, averaging 21.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game on a career-high 55.3 true shooting percentage. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Lakers, winning a title with LeBron and Anthony Davis in 2020. He was traded to the Washington Wizards as part of the trade that brought Westbrook to L.A.

Kuzma has a player option for next season and is widely expected to opt out and test free agency, looking for a longer deal, perhaps in the ballpark of $20 million per year. Westbrook will be coming off the Lakers’ books at the end of the season so they could theoretically re-sign Kuzma to that longer deal.

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