The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly hoping to keep forward Kyle Kuzma in a potential trade for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers have a “framework” of a deal and there is traction toward an agreement. He said that the No. 4 pick is being shopped around in such a trade, which would likely also include guard Lonzo Ball and/or forward Brandon Ingram.
This aligns with what the previous reporting suggests the terms would look like between the two teams. However, league insider Marc Stein reports the Los Angeles front office wants to keep Kuzma on their roster. Stein notes that Ball, Ingram and the No. 4 pick are all currently available to the Pelicans.
Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner reported that New Orleans wants Kuzma more than any other player on the Lakers (via Los Angeles Times):
“Among the current young Lakers, New Orleans covets Kuzma the most. According to people familiar with the Lakers’ thinking, Kuzma has ingratiated himself with the organization both on the court and off it and their management does not want to trade the forward who is entering his third season. The Lakers might have an opportunity to keep their No. 4 pick should they agree to part with Kuzma.”
Following the reporting from Windhorst mentioned above, it seems that the Pelicans would shop the fourth pick in the draft for a more win-now player than someone available in that range.
Stein, meanwhile, also believes that the pick would be used to land someone “to excite New Orleans” alongside projected No. 1 pick Zion Williamson as well as Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. The Pelicans also brag one of the better two-way guards in the league in Jrue Holiday on their roster, which would make a strong defensive backcourt next to Ball.
Someone like Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland may be a less interesting fit for New Orleans considering their backcourt could be full and he is coming back from an injury that sidelined him for much of last season. Indeed, it seems the Pelicans would like to contend as soon as possible with Williamson in the mix.
Kuzma, on the other hand, recently received an invitation to join the Team USA training camp. He also represented the Lakers on the night of the lottery last month. The forward was also likely desired by the San Antonio Spurs in talks for Kawhi Leonard last season, but negotiations failed to materialize.