Lakers Trade Rumors: Buddy Hield Deal Has 'Real Traction'; Kyle Kuzma, More Linked

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2021

Sacramento Kings' Buddy Hield dribbles during an NBA basketball game Los Angeles Lakers Friday, April 30, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A trade that could send Buddy Hield to the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly has "real traction," according to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.

O'Connor noted Los Angeles has "stepped up its efforts" ahead of Thursday's NBA draft, offering the Sacramento Kings a package that includes the No. 22 overall pick as well as Montrezl Harrell and either Kyle Kuzma or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

After Harrell reportedly exercised his $9.7 million option Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported there is "momentum" on a deal:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

That trade still needs to be agreed upon, but there's been momentum toward its ultimate completion, per sources. <a href="https://t.co/9W4KRY0YXg">https://t.co/9W4KRY0YXg</a>

Shams Charania of The Athletic previously reported the Kings and Lakers were discussing a deal for Hield, adding that Kuzma would be part of any move. Charania also noted several other teams have shown interest in Kuzma this offseason.

The Lakers appear ready to part with the power forward, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting on the Woj & Lowe Free Agency Special that they have heavily shopped both Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope this offseason.

"They have literally offered Kyle Kuzma and KCP to almost every team I’ve talked to in the league," Wojnarowski said.

Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and Harrell (if he picks up his player option) also represent the only six players under contract for the Lakers heading into 2021-22, per Spotrac. LeBron James and Anthony Davis aren't going anywhere while Marc Gasol only has a $2.69 million cap hit.

Trading the other players provide Los Angeles with more flexibility going into the offseason, even with Hield potentially coming back with a $23 million salary next season.

The guard will also help the Lakers on the court as an elite shooter who has hit 40.6 percent of three-point shots during his NBA career. Hield averaged 16.6 points per game last year—down from his career-best 20.7 PPG two years ago—but he could give the team a reliable third scorer who provides balance from the perimeter. He would also likely see plenty of open shots playing alongside James and Davis.

After the Lakers finished last year ranked 25th in the NBA in made three-pointers and 21st in three-point percentage, Hield could help improve the squad's biggest weakness from 2020-21.