Bobby Marks: Like all rookie extensions, Kyle Kuzma will have a poison pill restriction. For trade purposes, the current contract of $3.6M will count as outgoing salary. For incoming salary of the acquiring team, the average of the last year of his contract and extension is used- $10.9M.
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Some around the league believe he can be a starter and cause mismatches on offense. Others view Kuzma as a scorer off the bench who can change the dynamic of a game on a playoff team. “I see him as a backup, probably your seventh guy,” one executive said. “He’s somebody who can come in off the bench and spot start here and there to change the lineup.”
Also, in Los Angeles, there isn’t a consensus among decision-makers about signing Kyle Kuzma to a contract extension, SNY sources confirm (as first reported by The Ringer). I don’t see Los Angeles seriously considering a trade of Kuzma in the offseason, but it’s something worth keeping an eye on if you’re a Knick fan. The Knicks pursued Kuzma in trade talks at the 2020 trade deadline.
They’re also looking to unload LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan; I’ve heard the Lakers have interest in acquiring DeRozan (for Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green), and as mentioned, the Warriors may want Aldridge.
After averaging 18.7 points a season ago, Kyle Kuzma adapted to a new role on these championship Lakers. He served as a scorer off the bench and flashed signs of his continued upside. Kuzma will be eligible for his rookie extension this offseason, and could discuss a new deal with the Lakers. 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.
Brad Townsend: Lakers-Knicks deal for Morris would have sent Kuzma/Green to Knicks to make the numbers work, but Knicks didn’t want to take on Green’s salary — which is where Dallas would have come in, taking Green off Knicks’ hands for Courtney Lee’s expiring and Golden State 2nd round pick.
Frank Isola: Knicks trying to land Kyle Kuzma in a deal that would include Marcus Morris. D’Angelo Russell, who was a tidy minus-48 vs. Brooklyn last night, also remains a target.
Sam Amick: The Kings are receiving serious interest for small forward Bogdan Bogdanovic, but a source with knowledge of their plans still insists that they’re comfortable keeping him and attempting to re-sign him in restricted free agency summer. As of early Wednesday afternoon, the prospect of a Lakers-Kings deal involving Kyle Kuzma was not being discussed.
Brad Turner: Lakers/Clippers in trade conversations about Knicks’ Marcus Morris, sources. NY interested in Kyle Kuzma; would need Danny Green’s contract to make work. NY would want to move Green to another team. Clippers willing to part with Mo Harkless, but like Landry Shamet, who NY wants.
Over the years, Kyle Kuzma has leaned on late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for guidance during tough times, including trade speculation. “Kob’ used to always tell me, ‘If they’re not talking about you, then you should be worried,’” Kuzma said following the Lakers’ 129-102 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday at Staples Center. “And I’m the talk of the town.”
Kuzma does not seem fazed by the chatter. “I really don’t care, honestly,” Kuzma said. “You can’t control it. I get traded, I get traded. Don’t matter. I’m still going to play basketball. Still going to play the game I love. Still going to get paid.”
Kuzma has been “trying to play to exhaustion” partly because of Bryant’s wisdom. He insisted that had less to do with the trade deadline, though, and more to do with thinking about Bryant since his recent passing. “It was a good time for me to really just look back and reflect on what made Kob’ so great,” Kuzma said. “Everybody talks about the ‘Mamba Mentality’ of being a vicious scorer and looking to score, but that’s not even what that is. That mentality is to be tenacious, play with heart and be relentless at all times.”
Melissa Rohlin: Kyle Kuzma on the trade deadline approaching: “I really don’t care, honestly. You can’t control it. If I get traded, I get traded. It don’t matter. I’m still going to play basketball. I’m still going to play the game I love. I’m still going to be paid.”
Bill Oram: Last month Kyle Kuzma told me he was blocking out all trade noise: “I consumed it more last year. This year is different I don’t care at all.” theathletic.com/1550658/2020/0…
Harrison Faigen: Kuzma on some of the advice he’s gotten to help him deal with trade rumors: “Kobe always told me if they’re not talking about you, you should be worried.”
The Lakers and Kings previously discussed a deal involving Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kyle Kuzma, but a league source told The Sacramento Bee the Kings were unlikely to make that trade.
Shams Charania: Knicks have had exploratory conversations on Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Sacramento has matching rights on Bogdanović, but there are questions about the Kings willingness to match a potentially outrageous offer. Given the weakness of the 2020 free agent class, that could be coming. The Lakers have checked in on a potential Kuzma-centered swap, per source, and teams will probe Sacramento over the next two days to see if a deal is there.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN offered a bit more context on his latest episode of “The Woj Pod,” previewing what various Western Conference teams might do in advance of the deadline: “I think with Kuzma, with Kyle Kuzma they have talked, they have listened. I think his contract makes it hard, he’s just making over $2 million… It makes it hard to make the money work on a trade somewhere, because how do you make it work with him financially? If you’re trading for an established veteran player, you assume he’s making a lot more than $2 million… You never know, but right now I think the idea of maybe having to gut their depth a little bit to trade for one guy, it may not make sense for them. And maybe is only a marginal improvement over what they have in Kuzma anyway.”
The Lakers have investigated the market on Kyle Kuzma, per sources and prior reports. They have poked around on a long list of ball handlers. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers attempt to somehow acquire another salary in the $12 million range which they then use in a trade for a higher-priced guy — Iguodala or someone else.
Reports have them fielding offers for power forward Kyle Kuzma as a potential trade chip, but his modest rookie salary-scale contract, which pays him less than $2 million this season, makes it challenging to flip him for a more talented, proven player. (A source familiar with the team’s thinking disputes that the Lakers are aggressively shopping Kuzma after he appeared to co-sign disparaging remarks made by his personal trainer about LeBron James.)
Sacramento doesn’t need to trade Bogdanovic, and it has declined some offers already. The Kings offered Nemanja Bjelica and a pick to the Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, and Los Angeles countered by asking for Bogdanovic, according to multiple league sources. Sacramento refused.
Kuzma’s uneven play has fueled speculation that the Lakers may look to move him for a more team-friendly part. That seems unlikely, however. Kuzma is under an extremely team-friendly contract, earning just under $2 million this season and about $3.5 million in ’20-21. That limits the salary level of the players the Lakers can absorb in return. More importantly: Giving up on Kuzma this early isn’t something the Lakers should be interested in. Kuzma is just 24. He’s a proven NBA scorer. He’s experiencing a learning curve playing alongside James and Davis, but there simply is not enough evidence to declare the fit in L.A. a failure. Expect the Lakers to hold on to Kuzma in the hopes he develops into a reliable third scoring option this season—and beyond.
As the trade deadline approached a year ago, the Lakers were holed up at their hotel next to Boston Common. For Kuzma, it was a whirl. He had been offered up in trade packages as part of the Lakers pursuit of Anthony Davis and spent the hours before tipoff against the Celtics at TD Garden watching the clock and scanning social media. “That was a weird day,” Kuzma said Monday. “Before trade deadline it was weird, you knew something was going to happen but you didn’t know what was going to happen. But like after the deadline it was like you’ve got to play a game.”
Just like the days leading up to those final nerve-racking hours in Boston, it would not be hard for Kuzma to find speculation on his future these days. “I consumed it more last year,” he said. “This year is different I don’t care at all, but last year it was new and foreign, so it was like more of a can’t-really-escape-it thing. But for me it’s a little bit easier now. I don’t really have my Twitter like that. I don’t really use it.”
Harrison Faigen: .@kylegoon also asked if any of his recent play was fueled by the trade rumors, something Kuzma pushed back on: “Nah. That’s for y’all to talk about, I don’t really care. I’ve been through it multiple times, and obviously you see it, but it doesn’t even matter at this point.”
The reporting league-wide has centered around Kyle Kuzma, who is one of the Lakers’ most tradeable talents. Pelinka has had conversations with more than one team in which Kuzma was discussed, according to people familiar with those talks. He’s a good young player who has shown a great deal of promise and who has a team-friendly contract.
This year the Lakers would like to conduct their business more quietly, though reports already have surfaced that teams are calling about Kyle Kuzma. According to a person familiar with the conversation, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka initiated a call with Sacramento to gauge the Kings’ interest in Kuzma.
According to a league source, the Kings are unlikely to bite on a Bogdanovic-Kuzma swap and the team is comfortable walking into this summer with Bogdanovic as a restricted free agent. The Kings are 0-6 when Bogdanovic misses a game this season. He is the most versatile player on the roster, and according to a source, any deal made this trade season would need to make sense for the roster and team veratilty, now and in the future.
A league source told The Sacramento Bee the Kings are unlikely to trade Bogdanovic for Kuzma. The Kings value Bogdanovic’s versatility and they are comfortable with having the right to match any offers for him if he becomes a restricted free agent this summer. Bogdanovic has missed six games due to hamstring and ankle injuries this season. The Kings are 0-6 in those contests.
League sources told Heavy.com that the notion of the Lakers pulling the trigger on a deal for Kuzma is still a long way off. One general manager said the Lakers would ask for a high rotation player—preferably a point guard—who could bolster the chances for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to earn a spot in the Finals, as well as a first-round draft pick that projects to be in or around the lottery.
One Lakers target, for example, is the Grizzlies’ Andre Iguodala. But Memphis has been stubborn in refusing to move Iguodala without getting a first-round pick in return. A haul for Kuzma could facilitate an Iguodala trade.
Sam Amick: Re: @Marc Stein’s intel about possible Kuzma-for-Bogdanovic swap, I’m told Kings are unlikely to be interested straight up. They value his versatility, are comfortable w/ his restricted free agency & are 0-6 w/out him.
Marc Stein: Sacramento is among the teams that has tried to engage the Lakers in Kyle Kuzma trade talks, league sources say. The Kings know they would have to include sharpshooter (and soon-to-be restricted free agent) Bogdan Bogdanovic, for starters, in a Kuzma deal.
Jokes aside, here’s the real question some executives are asking about the 24-year-old forward: Will Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka eventually send him packing to upgrade the Lakers’ roster for a title run? As our Shams Charania reported Friday, teams are monitoring his situation and wondering whether he can be had before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. What’s more, sources now say the Lakers have shown a recent willingness to listen to pitches for Kuzma. And … we’re off — sort of. From the Lakers’ perspective, this open-phone-lines approach is merely a case of Pelinka doing due diligence as opposed to having substantive discussions. If only because nothing of real interest has come their way — yet.
As for James, whose influence and voice should never be overlooked in situations like this, a source with knowledge of his thinking said he remains supportive of Kuzma — even after a social media snafu with Kuzma’s trainer, who threw shade LeBron’s way after the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers and inspired the understandable questioning of Kuzma by the media in Lakers Land a day later.
Several teams are doing their due diligence on forward Kyle Kuzma and viewing whether they can pluck the talented 24-year-old as part of their future from the championship-contending Lakers, but the Lakers value Kuzma as a core part of the future and are focused on making moves around the edges and not a major one, league sources say.
During his first two seasons in Los Angeles, Kuzma missed the postseason and regularly dealt with trade rumors that he described as “annoying.” So, despite an uneven start to the season for him, he is enjoying being part of a championship-contending team. “It’s a lot less stressful going home every night when you win than when you are losing,” Kuzma said. “It brings a lot more joy to you. …
Long story short, they have to play the buyout market, and even then, they currently don’t have a roster spot to sign anyone. Their two biggest trade assets, league executives believe, are Kuzma and Danny Green, but both play important roles.
Chris Mannix: Lakers get Davis without having to surrender Kyle Kuzma, important as they fill out the roster for next year. Pelicans get a haul, but this is a big day for Rob Pelinka. Lakers get their man.
Marc Stein: The Lakers, thus far, are sticking to their no-Kuzma trade posture … but let’s see if they maintain it with the draft only a week away now. L.A. knows it likely needs to land Anthony Davis before June 30 to become a factor in chasing a prime free agent to join a LeBron/AD duo
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
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, and 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.
Marc Stein: My sense is that the Lakers, to this point, have tried to keep Kyle Kuzma out of the talks and the full package New Orleans would receive in an Anthony Davis deal obviously depends on what the third team provides
Tania Ganguli: One player that the Lakers’ trade discussions with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis could hinge on? Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers do not want to trade him, but the Pelicans want him as part of a package, sources tell me and @Brad Turner.
When Kuzma went to Charlotte for All-Star Weekend to participate in the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge, he sought an audience with Pelinka. Kuzma and his people came away from their chat feeling reassured, a source close to the situation told The Athletic. Pelinka told the second-year forward that he was key to the Lakers’ future and that, unless it was a trade for one of the game’s three best players, he wasn’t trading him. A year earlier, Larry Nance Jr. approached Pelinka with a similar question. Nance Jr. and his fiancée, his college girlfriend, were interested in buying a house. He wanted to get a sense of whether the Lakers planned on keeping him around, and Pelinka told him that the Lakers would only trade him if it meant landing one of the game’s three best players. He told him to buy the house, multiple sources confirmed.
Here is what we do know. The Lakers made several aggressive offers to New Orleans involving all of their core young players of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. The Pelicans had no intent to trade Davis before the offseason, however, especially not to the Lakers, league sources said. The NBA is a business, however, and these conversations involving the Lakers’ talented young core was warranted, whether they were taken personally or not.
Ryan Ward: Kyle Kuzma on how he views the trade rumors: “No, the trade rumor is over. I’ve already said what I have to say. I’m tired of answering it. I’ll probably answer trade rumors in April, too, but I don’t care.” via NBA PR #Lakers
Late Monday night, the Lakers changed their offer at the request of the Pelicans, two people said. The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said. The Lakers were also winning to also send the Pelicans two first-round draft picks.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps re-opened their dialogue Monday about working together on an Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers increased their offer to include everything the Pelicans desire: six players, two first-round draft picks and a willingness to take back an undesirable contract. The Lakers’ most recent offer to the Pelicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation, includes Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis and Solomon Hill, who is set to make $13 million next season.
Brad Turner: Landed in Indy; update on Lakers-Pelicans talks. Magic Johnson, Dell Demps talked twice today, per source. Lakers willing to give Pelicans cap relief for Anthony Davis by taking Solomon Hill for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Beasley, 2 1st round picks.
As the Los Angeles Lakers pursue New Orleans Pelicans All-NBA center Anthony Davis ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, the initial offers have been underwhelming, including the Lakers’ first offer of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick, league sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: in the Lakers first offer to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis, LA offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Lakers have offered the Pelicans two of their talented young players — among Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart — with Rondo or Stephenson as core parts of a deal. For Pelicans, these have not been remotely serious offers.
Brad Turner: Sources: Lakers let Demps know one of trade scenarios would include Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, No. 1 pick, per source. Eric Pincus: Trying to parse BT’s language – if Lakers have discussed multiple scenarios that include all of the listed players – doesn’t mean one specific scenario includes all of the players. Tania Ganguli: actually, no. this is one of the options. all together.
Ramona Shelburne: Regarding the Lakers and Pelicans conversations today, I’m told it’s “common sense to assume no one but LeBron James would be untouchable”
The New Orleans Pelicans are open to trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers – but it’ll come at a hefty price. According to sources unauthorized to speak publicly on the deal, a Lakers offer for Davis would have to start with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick. Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans last week.
In the meantime, Kuzma has shown he can help carry a team offensively. “He’s a legitimate scorer that fits the modern NBA perfectly,” a former general manager told Bleacher Report. “Kuzma has the highest value of the [Lakers’ young prospects]. He’s the most proven.”
To date, Los Angeles has not offered players such as Ingram, Kuzma, Ball and Hart in trade discussions. They value each of them highly. The Lakers should have enough cap space to keep all four and still sign a top free agent like Kevin Durant (2019-20 player option), Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard (player option) this offseason. Will Ingram still be a part of L.A.’s young core in six months?
ESPNLosAngeles: “They’ve [Lakers] been willing to offer what they consider to be a fair package but they’ve made it very clear to San Antonio that Kyle Kuzma is off limits…they’re not letting go of Kuzma.” – @stephenasmith on the Lakers not wanting to trade Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma knows all about the rumors that he could get shipped out of L.A. — but tells TMZ Sports he’s not bothered by the trade talk … and assures Lakers fans he wants to stay put. The NBA star was leaving lunch at Via Alloro in Beverly Hills on Thursday where he told us he can’t focus on front office stuff he can’t control — his only option is to work on getting better as a player.
As the Lakers head into a potentially franchise-changing offseason, their front office is keeping its options fully open. While they like their young core and would prefer to keep those players growing together, they have told teams no player is untouchable in trades, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of trade and free-agent negotiations.
To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.
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May 5, 2021 | 3:54 pm EDT Update
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