Kyle Kuzma Trade Rumors: Kings Have 'Tried to Engage' Lakers in Talks

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 6, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 5: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Detroit Pistons on January 5, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Sacramento Kings have inquired about Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Sacramento is among the teams that has tried to engage the Lakers in Kyle Kuzma trade talks, league sources say. The Kings know they would have to include sharpshooter (and soon-to-be restricted free agent) Bogdan Bogdanovic, for starters, in a Kuzma deal

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported the Kings are "unlikely" to be interested in a straight up deal involving Bojan Bogdanovic, noting Sacramento values his versatility and are comfortable with him being set to enter restricted free agency.

Jason Jones of The Athletic added the Kings would have to be "blown away by an offer" to trade Bogdanovic and aren't shopping him.

Kuzma, 24, is averaging 11.8 points on 42.0 percent shooting in 23.5 minutes per game off the Lakers bench. He is in the third season of a four-year, $8,650,178 contract.

Injuries have curtailed Kuzma's 2019-20 campaign, which has seen a significant drop-off in production from his previous two seasons. A stress reaction in his left ankle suffered with Team USA Basketball over the summer kept him out for the first four games of 2019-20.

That curtailed his preparation for the season, and Kuzma started out slowly with just 9.0 points per game on 37.5 percent shooting in his first four contests.

The remainder of Kuzma's season has bounced between excellent performances where he resembles the player from his first and second years (such as his 25 points on 8-of-17 shooting versus the Los Angeles Clippers) and poor ones (Kuzma has scored five or fewer points in seven games).

A left ankle sprain also kept him out for five matchups in December. Kuzma told reporters that the injury was unrelated to the stress reaction.

This year has largely been a struggle for the third-year pro, but Kuzma averaged 17.3 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting in his first two seasons, so he's clearly capable of better production.

And that might make him a hot commodity at the trade deadline. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Sunday that the Lakers "have shown a recent willingness to listen to pitches for Kuzma."

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic also reported that "several teams are doing their due diligence" on the former Utah Ute.

However, Charania also wrote that "the Lakers value Kuzma as a core part of the future and are focused on making moves around the edges and not a major one," per league sources.

Landing New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris may be one of those "moves around the edges," with Colin Martin and Ian Begley of SNY.tv reporting that "opposing teams expect other contenders like the [Los Angeles Clippers] and Lakers to feel out the market for Morris as well."

Morris would be a good bench piece alongside Kuzma to bolster a second unit that could use a bit more scoring; the team's reserves are currently 16th in the NBA in bench points per game.


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