A new season starts and Kyle Kuzma is once again in trade talks. The Lakers need to set up the best possible team to win another ring as long as LeBron James is the best player in the world, and that makes everyone outside of The King and Anthony Davis expendable. The Lakers made the first big move of the offseason by trading Danny Green and the No. 28 overall pick for Dennis Schroder. They also made a play for 2-way star Jrue Holiday but the Pelicans rejected the offer of Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and the No. 28 overall pick before the Schroder deal.
That means Kuzma is still available and the Lakers must move him to get a better piece for their squad. The Milwaukee Bucks snatched Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic, while other contending teams will certainly be more active in the trade market to boost their title chances. Kyle Kuzma had a down year in 2020 by averaging 12.8 PPG on 43.6% FG, but he still has value as a young forward with a very high ceiling. Here are the 3 best possible trades for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kyle Kuzma.
3. C.J. McCollum
2019-2020 Statistics: 22.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 37.9% 3-PT FG
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Sign and Trade), Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook for C.J. McCollum
McCollum doesn't get enough credit as the scoring sidekick to Damian Lillard on the Portland Trail Blazers. He is a professional scorer and one of the most consistent offensive players in the league who can get 20 points at the minimum every night. The Lakers obviously have Anthony Davis and LeBron James on offense, but McCollum adds a third piece that puts the Lakers ahead of the pack for sure.
C.J. will have more success with the Lakers than ever before in his career, which could benefit the Los Angeles franchise tremendously. McCollum and Lillard led the Blazers to the Western Conference Finals 2 years ago, so clearly the former has All-Star talent. McCollum will benefit greatly by playing with the best passer in the game in LeBron James and also the best big man in the game in Anthony Davis. Kuzma will benefit from being the sharpshooting forward for the Portland Trail Blazers alongside Jusuf Nurkic and recently acquired Robert Covington.
2. Zach LaVine
2019-2020 Statistics: 25.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, 38.0% 3-Pt FG
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Sign and Trade), Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook for Zach LaVine
LaVine is one of the best players that could be moved this offseason. He is the best player, best scorer, and the most consistent performer for the Chicago Bulls. LaVine has all the tools of an All-Star player, and every team to leave would love to add him to their lineup. Unfortunately for LaVine and fortunately for Lakers fans, he's playing on a very bad team right now. A swap for Kuzma will benefit both parties since Kuzma will be the go-to guy on the Bulls roster as they rebuild around his scoring potential.
LaVine's shooting and scoring ability is needed in Los Angeles if the Lakers want to try to go for their second NBA title in a row. LaVine shot 38.0% from three this season which makes him the most dependable "other" in the starting lineup in terms of shot-making, and he can also improve his all-around game by playing alongside LeBron James. The Lakers can become the favorites once again if they manage to pair Zach LaVine, Dennis Schroder, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis in the same lineup.
1. DeMar DeRozan
2019-2020 Statistics: 22.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 25.7% 3-pt FG
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Sign and Trade), Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook for DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan is not the perfect fit for the Lakers in terms of spot-up three-point shooting, but he is an All-Star and the best one available on the market right now. DeRozan won't be as good of a shooter as McCollum or LaVine, but his all-around offensive game and defensive potential make him a scary fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. DeRozan is a better player since playing in San Antonio, as evidenced by his increase in assists and rebounds per game since joining the Spurs.
DeRozan will be the third guy on the Lakers who can create his own shot, score the ball in isolation, and run on the break. Long-distance bombers are much preferred when you have LeBron James, but DeRozan is still an All-Star player who will give the Lakers the best possible chance to win their second straight NBA title. For Kuzma, he gets a chance to play for another storied franchise and prove to the NBA world that he has what it takes to be a star in the league.