Lakers Trade Rumors: Pelicans Want Kyle Kuzma Included in Anthony Davis Package

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 01:  Los Angeles Laker Kyle Kuzma attends the 2015 Jordan Cabernet Release Day Party on May 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Jordan Winery )
Rich Polk/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly offered Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 draft on June 20 to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.

However, a potential deal may hinge on the player they're yet to include in talks.

Tania Ganguli‏ and Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported the Pelicans want Kyle Kuzma as part of any Davis package, while the Lakers are hesitant to move him. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Ball, Ingram and the No. 4 pick are currently the centerpieces of the Lakers' trade package. The deal could be contingent on whether the Pelicans feel L.A.'s selection would somehow net them a player who would "excite" them. 

Kuzma, 23, is well-liked within the Lakers organization and was the team's representative during the draft lottery. He's also built a bond with LeBron James during their year as teammates.

The basketball fit with James, Davis and Kuzma is near-seamless and would give the Lakers a versatile frontcourt that can score and switch at three positions. Kuzma is also a better outside shooter than his 30.3 percent rate from three last season would suggest. 

Ball and Ingram, meanwhile, arguably have higher long-term potential but are better with the ball in their hands—making them worse fits around LeBron. Ingram especially seemed to struggle with where he fit within the Lakers offense when he shared the floor with James, though he flourished toward the end of the season before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. 

If the Pelicans shop the No. 4 pick to a third team, it would indicate they don't see much star power beyond Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett in this class.

Odds are the Lakers would be willing to eventually relent on trading Kuzma or add someone like Josh Hart in the package. This has a little bit of the 2011 Carmelo Anthony trade feeling, with the two sides simply haggling over how many of the young players will be headed out of the major city.

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