Kuzma’s Breakout Great for Lakers!
Whether he’s a building block or trading chip, Kyle Kuzma’s breakout play after returning from an ankle injury is great news for the Lakers
Since returning from an ankle injury, Kyle Kuzma has finally started to show the star potential that kept the Los Angeles Lakers from including him in last summer’s trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
Looking fully recovered from the ankle injury suffered playing with Team USA last summer, Kuzma has looked great over the last three games and become the third big time scorer the Lakers have desperately needed. Averaging 21.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in just 26.3 minutes per game, Kuzma has provided the Lakers with the versatile scoring punch the Lakers lacked, shooting 49.0% from the field and 36.4% on 7.3 threes per game.
While it’s just been three games, Kuzma’s breakout could not have come at a better time as his game high 24-points led the Lakers to a critical road win against the Portland Trailblazers to end the team’s 4-game losing streak. Kuzma continuing to perform at this level going forward would be great news for the Lakers. It wouldn’t eliminate their need for another playmaker to backup LeBron but it could solve their requirement for a third scorer.
Even if Kuzma continues to play at this level, he’s still going to see his name come up in trade discussions. If anything, there will be even more interest in him by teams who have veteran players whom the Lakers might covet. There are going to be a lot of NBA teams who would love to trade for a budding young star who can give you 20 points and 4 rebounds per game, only makes $2 million per year, and has three years left on his contract.
One logical trading partner should the Los Angeles Lakers decide to trade Kyle Kuzma could be the New Orleans Pelicans, who unsuccessfully tried to include him in the big trade they made for Anthony Davis last summer. With their playoff hopes killed by their poor start and Zion’s injury, the Pelicans may be looking to move 29-year old point guard Jrue Holiday for a younger star who better fits their timeline, like the 24-year old Kyle Kuzma.
While it seems unlikely the Lakers would move Kuzma for another scorer should he continue to average 15 to 20 points per game, the Lakers might be tempted to trade Kyle if they could bring back a point guard like Holiday. The Lakers could offer a package that included two potential young stars in the 24-year old Kuzma and the 19-year old Talen Horton-Tucker plus veterans Danny Green and Avery Bradley and their 2026 first round pick.
Averaging 19.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game in 35.7 minutes per game, Jrue Holiday would give the Lakers the elite playmaker they desperately need to complement and backup LeBron James at point. As a 20-points per game scorer and two-time All-Defensive player, Holiday would also give the Lakers a third scorer to replace Kyle Kuzma and an elite point-of-attack defender to replace Avery Bradley and Danny Green.
Whether he’s a building block or trading chip, Kyle Kuzma’s breakout play after returning from an ankle injury is great news for the Lakers. If he stays, he gives the Lakers the third star they need to complement LeBron and AD. Should the Lakers opt to trade him, he gives them the kind of blue chip trading chip they need to pull off a deal for an elite point guard like Jrue Holiday, who would bring back elite scoring, playmaking, and defense.
That’s why every Lakers fan should be buoyed by Kyle Kuzma’s recent performance. Building block or trading chip, Kyle Kuzma’s breakout play is the key to the Los Angeles Lakers winning their 17th NBA championship.
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