Kyle Kuzma on Lakers Trade Rumors: 'It Don't Even Matter at This Point'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 11: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 11, 2020 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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 Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Zach Beeker/Getty Images

As the Lakers look to fortify their roster for a deep playoff run, Kyle Kuzma's name continues to pop up in trade rumors.

Not that he seems to care.

"Nah, that's for y'all to talk about," Kuzma told reporters Saturday when asked if trade speculation had sparked his strong play recently. "I've been through it multiple times, and obviously I see it. But it don't even matter at this point."

Kuzma is coming off his best back-to-back stretch of games this season, scoring 26 points in a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday before pouring in 36 a night later in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The performances could be taken as evidence that it's best for Kuzma to find a new home. Both scoring efforts came with Anthony Davis out of the lineup with a bruised tailbone, and his 36-point outburst came without both Davis and LeBron James.

Kuzma is averaging the fewest points, minutes and shots per game of his career because of the presence of James and Davis at both forward spots. While the trio has spent time together on the floor this season, Kuzma's gunning style is an awkward fit next to the two perennial All-Stars.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said of Kuzma's breakout:

"I think it's real. Like I said, a lot of it is just he's been hampered by the injuries and just struggling a little bit to try to find his rhythm. But since he's been back, since we shut him down for a few games, he's been playing at a really high level. A couple games where he didn't really score the ball well, but hopefully this is just another step in that growth into that role, and hopefully he keeps it going."

Kuzma is L.A.'s last remaining trade chip after the team jettisoned Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart as part of the Davis trade. The Lakers have holes on their roster, particularly when it comes to shooting and ball-handling on the wings. A deal that packages Kuzma with matching salaries is their best non-buyout route of improvement.

It's unclear if the Lakers will find an offer worthy of parting with Kuzma, but it's promising that the 24-year-old is finding ways to block out the noise.

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