On a recent episode of his The Game Theory podcast, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie spoke with The Volume’s Jason Timpf about all things NBA, including the Los Angeles Lakers, currently the No. 12 seed in the West at 18-21.
Both experts agreed that there was one player in particular who could be a perfect trade target for the Los Angeles Lakers, assuming the team’s front office, led by the team’s vice president of basketball operations, Rob Pelinka, is willing. to hand over some future draft capital in The prospect: Washington Wizards power forward Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma, of course, spent his first four seasons in Los Angeles and proved to be a crucial cog in the team’s title run in 2019-20.
“Kuzma is the one I keep coming back to too [as a Laker fit]Vecenie said. “He’s been amazing this year, first and foremost as a legitimate shot maker who can get to that little hook shot at midrange, who can knock down 3-pointers; it has actually become a fairly sizeable volume treble. shooter who is confident and comfortable taking down shots. I think he’s shooting 34, 35 percent from three.”
“You actually have to approach him in a pretty real way, you have to pay a lot of attention to him when he has the ball because he’s so creative and because he’s gotten a little bit better as a passer in my opinion.” and playmaker”.
“The other thing about Kyle Kuzma is that we know that guy loves Los Angeles,” Vecenie added. “We know that guy wouldn’t mind living the rest of his career in Los Angeles, which means I think they can actually move one of those two first-round picks for him, an early 2027 or 2029 pick, and feel confident and comfortable. that there’s going to be a real return on investment, not just this year, but in the long run, because you get the rights to he Bird in the future. So that’s the kind of move that makes a lot of sense to me. And on top of that, you don’t have to move Russell Westbrook’s contract to be able to do that. The Patrick Beverley deal actually aligns very, very well within such a deal. Will the Wizards do better than, like, 2027 without protection or maybe better? — Two protected 2027 first-round picks and an expiring contract for Kyle Kuzma? I’m not convinced they do.”
Timpf intervened, agreeing with Vecenie’s forecast.
“And let’s be clear, let’s put our GM hats back on… Is there an election you’d like more than one that the competition from Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka ties directly to the outcome of… I’m sorry, but, and with James from LeBron, it’s just one of those things where I’m with you I think there’s a lot of value in those two picks in particular, which is what’s particularly frustrating about this situation because they directly have the means with which to bolster this group … He immediately solves so many specific problems with that Lakers group, he fits so naturally with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, I think it’s a no-brainer.”
It’s kind of funny that, just one season after dumping Kuzma, one pick, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell to the Wizards for Westbrook, LA will have to dump another pick just to bring Kuzma back. But it’s also the price of doing business, and Kuzma would be a great on-court compliment to James and Davis, as Timpf points out.
This season, Kuzma is averaging 21.4 points on .461/.337/.705 shooting splits, 7.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 39 games for the Wizards, all starts. There’s no question he would be a big help in shoring up LA’s frontcourt, while Beverley has offered very little for LA in the worst year of his career.