Report: Lakers are willing to listen to Kyle Kuzma trade offers

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has had an up and down season, but as a skilled scorer, he remains a valuable trade option for the Lakers.

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Lakers “have shown a recent willingness to listen to pitches for Kuzma,” a change in the previous reporting on how the Lakers view Kuzma. On Friday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Lakers see Kuzma “as a core part of the future.”

Last season Kuzma, 24, emerged as one of the best young players in the NBA. He averaged a career-high 18.7 points per game and shot a career-high 45.6% from the field. As a second-year player last season, Kuzma ranked fourth among sophomores in points per game.

This season has been different, though. Kuzma has dealt with an ankle injury, and he missed the first four games of the season because of a stress reaction he suffered in his left foot before the season.

Kuzma is scoring 12.1 points per game, but he’s not playing as much compared to last season. This season he’s playing 23.6 minutes a game, whereas last season he played 33.1 minutes, due in large part to the fact Anthony Davis prefers to play Kuzma’s natural power forward spot.

For the Lakers, keeping Kuzma on and seeing if he plays better could prove to be beneficial. Despite a slow start this season, Kuzma is still talented. His ability to score in multiple ways is his best attribute. The Lakers need more bench scoring, too, as they rank 16th in the category (35.7), according to NBA.com. 

Also, Kuzma’s low salary as he remains on a rookie contract may make it more difficult for the Lakers to find a suitable trade partner that improves their team with more proven veteran talent. Kuzma has also tried to make it clear that the comments by his trainer about LeBron James following the Christmas Day loss were something out of his control.

The Lakers will look to extend their win streak to five games against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

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