Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kyle Kuzma Trade, Rajon Rondo's Contract Option

Jake RillSenior Writer IOctober 17, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, center, shoots against Denver Nuggets' Monte Morris (11) and Torrey Craig (3) during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Although Kyle Kuzma had a smaller role for the Los Angeles Lakers this season and his numbers were a bit down, the 25-year-old forward clearly still has potential and upside. And it's possible he could be a key part of the team's core for many years to come.

However, Kuzma's career could also head in a different direction. Perhaps even in the not-too-distant future.

The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania recently reported there are numerous teams interested in acquiring Kuzma, who isn't set to become a restricted free agent until 2021. But that's something else that could possibly change this offseason.

"Kuzma will be eligible for his rookie extension this offseason, and could discuss a new deal with the Lakers," Charania wrote. "The 25-year-old also could bypass an extension and use next season to continue elevating his value prior to restricted free agency. And then there is the option of a trade suitor with several interested clubs."

Kuzma entered the NBA in the 2017 draft, getting dealt from the Brooklyn Nets to the Lakers that night. Over his first two seasons with Los Angeles, he started 105 of his 147 games while averaging 16.1 points per game as a rookie in 2017-18 and 18.7 points per game in 2018-19.

Last offseason, Los Angeles acquired star forward Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. That led to Kuzma mostly coming off the bench, as he made only nine starts in 61 regular-season games (averaging 12.8 points per game) and none in 21 playoff contests (averaging 10.0 points per game).

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Kuzma had never previously reached the postseason, and in his first trip to the playoffs, he helped the Lakers win their first NBA title since 2010.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the salary cap, key offseason dates and the start date for the next season, teams can't currently make trades. So for now, Kuzma is staying put. But perhaps that will change in the months to come.

                      

Rondo's Time in Los Angeles Coming to End?

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

It may have taken 12 years, but Rajon Rondo is now a two-time NBA champion. After winning a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008, his second season in the league, Rondo was a key bench contributor for the Lakers during their run to the championship over the past two months.

However, after spending the past two seasons in Los Angeles, it's possible Rondo's time with the team is nearing an end. According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Rondo is likely to decline his player option for the 2020-21 season, which is worth $2.96 million.

Now, it's always possible Rondo could work out a new deal with the Lakers and be back on their roster next season. But there's also a chance he decides to sign elsewhere.

Rondo is a 14-year NBA veteran and has played for six different teams—the Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, Pelicans and Lakers. In 2019-20, he averaged 7.1 points and 5.0 assists in 48 regular-season games for Los Angeles, then averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 assists in 16 playoff games.

It wouldn't be surprising if the Lakers had interest in bringing Rondo back. But if he played his final game with the team, he went out on a high note. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, Rondo scored 19 points, his highest total of the playoffs.