Kyle Kuzma Trade Rumors: Lakers GM 'Initiated' Talks with Kings About Interest

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma (0) warms up prior to an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka reportedly didn't wait for the Sacramento Kings' call to see if they are interested in trading for Kyle Kuzma

According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Pelinka "initiated a call" with the Lakers' Western Conference rival to "gauge the Kings' interest in Kuzma."

This comes after Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Kings were one of the teams that "tried to engage" the Purple and Gold in trade talks involving Kuzma with the understanding Bogdan Bogdanovic will need to be included in any deal.

However, Jason Jones of The Athletic noted the Kings "would need to be blown away by an offer" to trade Bogdanovic.

It wasn't long ago Kuzma, 24, was seen as an essential building block for the Lakers. After all, they didn't even move him in the trade that brought Anthony Davis to Los Angeles and sent much of the young core, including Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball, to the New Orleans Pelicans.

However, he is coming off the bench for the team with the best record in the Western Conference and has taken a backseat to some of the veterans in the rotation.

Granted, LeBron James and Davis are not ordinary veterans, but Kuzma has seen his scoring average drop from 18.7 points per game last season to 11.8 a night this season. He is also posting career-low totals in rebounds (3.5), assists (0.8), steals (0.4) and field-goal percentage (42.0) while dealing with some injuries.

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There is also the dynamic between Kuzma and James that could factor into a potential trade, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports (h/t Yahoo Sports) noted the former's trainer posted critical thoughts about the King when comparing him to Kawhi Leonard.

Still, Sam Amick of The Athletic noted LeBron remains supportive of Kumza as trade rumors swirl.

For now, Kuzma remains part of the Lakers' rotation as they look to parlay their hot start to the season into playoff success, but Pelinka is apparently open enough to trading him that he is making calls.

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