A lot has been made about the Sacramento Kings' attempts at acquiring Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, with most of the talk trending toward the Lakers' desire to get Bogdan Bogdanovic in return. The Kings reportedly balked at the offer.
Now there's finally some insight as to what led to that point.
According to Kevin O'Connor at The Ringer, the Kings' offer for Kuzma was Nemanja Bjelica and an unspecified draft pick. While Bjelica's numbers (12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds per game) aren't that much worse than Bogdanovic's (14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds), the four-year age difference is pretty massive. Bogdanovic is just 27 while Bjelica turns 32 in May. There's also the fact that Bogdanovic becomes a restricted free agent this offseason and Kuzma won't become an RFA until 2021.
That contract situation is exactly why O'Connor believes the Kings must move either Buddy Hield or Bogdanovic.
"Any offer sheet in the $15 million to $25 million range annually would be problematic for the Kings to match. Hield and Harrison Barnes just got paid, and De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III are due new contracts in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Unless the Kings decide it’s in their best interest to commit roughly $75 million to Fox, Hield, and Bogdanovic starting in 2021, trading one of Hield or Bogdanovic for a larger wing or a big man would make sense."
O'Connor notes the Lakers talks are just one of a few offers for Bogdanovic the Kings have received as the February 6 deadline nears.
Kuzma, meanwhile, remains a highly sought-after piece. Whether that means he gets moved remains to be seen. Lakers star LeBron James told media last week that Los Angeles has everything it needs to win a title now. That usually bodes well for his teammates.