NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Shopped Heavily by LAL

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) controls the ball during an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

The Los Angeles Lakers have been aggressive looking to improve before next season with Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope reportedly often used as trade bait.

"They have literally offered Kyle Kuzma and KCP to almost every team I’ve talked to in the league," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Sunday on the Woj & Lowe Free Agency Special.

Wojnarowski added most teams have received offers for some combination of either one player or both of them this offseason.

Outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Caldwell-Pope ($13.04 million) and Kuzma ($13 million) have the highest cap figures on the team for 2021-22, per Spotrac. Marc Gasol ($2.69 million) is the only other player with a guaranteed contract, while Montrezl Harrell has a $9.7 million player option.

Clearing the salary-cap space could allow the Lakers to add another impact player in free agency—Shams Charania of The Athletic reported they are interested in Kyle Lowry—or re-sign their current free agents, such as Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker (RFA).

Beyond the financial issues, the Lakers could also be looking for players who could be better fits in the rotation.

Kuzma averaged 18.7 points per game in 2018-19 but averaged just 12.8 points per game over the past two years combined while moving in and out of the starting lineup. The forward has said the constant movement has limited him.

"My biggest thing is I just want to play within a consistent role," Kuzma told Bleacher Report's Tyler Conway. "If I have that ability, I'll be able to showcase what I can really do."

A move to a new team could lead to more playing time and a chance for the 26-year-old to truly shine.

Caldwell-Pope started all 67 games he played last year as a classic three-and-D guard. He made a career-high 41.0 percent of his three-point shots in 2020-21 while often matching up defensive against an opponent's top perimeter player.

The Lakers could still seek a bigger offensive threat at the position after Caldwell-Pope averaged just 9.7 points per game last season.