KUZMA ON THE MOVE? As the trade market starts to heat up, bigger and bigger names are starting to make their way into league-wide scuttle. We had a clear example of that this weekend with Kyle Kuzma. According to a report from The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Lakers have shown a recent willingness to listen to pitches for the third-year forward, and though nothing worthwhile has come through yet, the fact they’re even open to the idea is noteworthy in its own right.
On the year, Kuzma’s numbers – 11.8 points and 3.5 boards per game on 42.0/34.6/73.7 shooting splits – are down, which is to be expected considering the new role he has on a contending team, a far cry from the Lakers teams of seasons past when Kuzma could light it up freely on a nightly basis. Regardless, while a lot of young players use their third season to hit the next level in their development, Kuzma is struggling – and that could put a hamper on his perceived trade value around the league.
Kuzma does have legitimate reasons to excuse his slow third campaign. After all, just in the last three months, the Utah product has had to deal with a stress reaction in his foot, an eye abrasion and an ugly ankle injury that have all forced him to miss time. Plus, sometimes players just struggle to acclimate with playing alongside LeBron James, especially when those players are used to dominating the rock themselves.
At the end of the day, maybe a change of scenery could benefit Kuzma (while possibly landing the Lakers a win-now veteran), away from the bright lights and distractions of L.A. and able to focus just on basketball.
MORE TRADE SCUTTLE: Kuzma wasn’t the only player mentioned in trade rumors over the weekend.
🏀 Kevin Love’s displeasure with the Cavs continues to manifest himself, as the big man blew up on Cleveland GM Koby Altman on Saturday, going off about his “disgust” with the Cavaliers organization. It’s probably only a matter of time until he gets his way and is traded, especially since Cleveland just can’t afford to have Love behaving like this so publicly every game.
🏀 Marcus Morris continues to reiterate that he would prefer to stay in New York long term, as rumors swirl about contenders being interested in the tough-nosed power forward.
🏀 Teams like Atlanta, Boston, Toronto and Dallas are interested in acquiring Detroit big man Andre Drummond, who will likely hit free agency this summer.
FRESH POD: Our own Alex Kennedy is joined by Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus to discuss the latest NBA trade buzz, among a variety of other topics.
KYRIE UPDATE: All-Star guard Kyrie Irving spoke to the media for the first time in months to address his injury recovery. He’s doing better, but still struggling when lifting his arms on his jump shot, so he might not be back for a while.
NO RESPECT: Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle blew up on NBA officiating after a recent game, saying that opponents are beating the s— out of – and taking liberties with – Luka Doncic, insinuating that the star Slovenian deserves more whistles than he’s getting.
FAVORABLE SCHEDULING: Carlisle might be displeased with the state of officiating against his team at the moment, but he can’t be mad at the schedule-makers, as the Mavericks and Lakers are the two teams with the fewest back-to-back games since 2000.
LOPEZ DOMINATION: The analytics say that Milwaukee has the best statistical interior defense in modern league history. The work done by Brook and Robin Lopez deserves a lot of credit.
ALL-STAR’S FUTURE: Pretty much as soon as the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell, the near-immediate belief was that they did so in order to trade him at a later date. Russell hopes that isn’t the case, as he would like to stay in San Francisco.
BLOWING IT UP? The Pistons are 13-23 and sit 11th in the East, with a plethora of injuries hurting their expensive roster. Pistons owner Tom Gores recently spoke to the media and said the team going to evaluate everything, so it looks like a rebuild could be next for Detroit.
BIG MAN THEORIES: Despite the modernization of the NBA big man, who is now often expected to space the floor for their teams, old-school bigs like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing think Joel Embiid and his modern center contemporaries should get in the post and dominate.
SIXERS NOT UNDERACHIEVING? Analytics-focused website FiveThirtyEight argues that Philadelphia hasn’t disappointed this year and can still contend, it’s just that the East is stronger than many expected it to be.
ALL-STAR SNUB: After being snubbed from All-Star festivities last year, the fans are ignoring Rudy Gobert’s candidacy yet again, as the French big did not rank among the 10 leading frontcourt vote-getters in the West. The Athletic breaks down whether Gobert deserves to be an All-Star this season.
SLICK SNEAKS: Damian Lillard’s sneakers, the Adidas Dame 6s, will get a Stone Cold Steve Austin theme. They look absolutely awesome.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
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