The Los Angeles Lakers are out of the playoffs this year, losing in 6 games to the Phoenix Suns. With Anthony Davis and LeBron James hobbled, Phoenix Suns were the much better team and took care of business rather quickly. Looking ahead to next season, the Lakers need to make moves to acquire a third star.
Most importantly, the Lakers need to get rid of dead weight and players who have not performed to their best abilities. Kyle Kuzma was considered untouchable just a few years ago, but his play has rendered him expendable. Similarly, Dennis Schroder wasn't the same player with the Lakers and should be moved. For the Lakers to find a scorer and playmaker, they should make a deal with the Boston Celtics to acquire 4-time All-Star Kemba Walker.
Kemba Walker is on a $36 million salary, so signing Dennis Schroder for around $20 million and trading him with Kyle Kuzma will work for both sides. Here is why this deal works best for both teams.
Trade Package: Dennis Schroder (sign and trade), Kyle Kuzma for Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker Is The All-Star Point Guard
Dennis Schroder wasn't at his best this year, averaging 15.4 PPG and 5.8 APG. While these are solid numbers for a starting point guard, Schroder wasn't effective in the postseason. He averaged 14.3 PPG and 2.8 APG on 40.0% shooting from the field against the Phoenix Suns. Clearly, he hasn't prospered with Los Angeles and even Magic Johnson believes he isn't Laker quality.
Kyle Kuzma averaged 12.9 PPG during the regular season and 6.3 PPG during the playoffs. Clearly, he isn't suitable for the Lakers either and needs a fresh start somewhere else. The good news for Kuzma is that he is 25 years old, meaning he still has time to reach his potential as a star player. But the Lakers should cash in on Kuzma and Schroder immediately for Kemba Walker.
Kemba Walker is only one year removed from an All-Star selection, but he averaged 19.3 PPG and 4.9 APG on 42.0% shooting from the field. Kemba was a bonafide All-Star with the Hornets and he can at least average 20 PPG for the Lakers during the postseason. The Lakers need a third star and by moving their deadweight, they have a chance to take a slight gamble on a 4-time All-Star who is only 31 years old. Even if Kemba doesn't make another All-Star Team, there is no doubt he is a more impactful player than Schroder or Kuzma alongside LeBron and Davis.
The Celtics Regroup With A Young Forward And Capable Point Guard
The Celtics were rumored to be shopping Kemba Walker this offseason, and with the way he has struggled to return to All-Star form, he is expendable right now. The Celtics also need depth and quality behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, because one injury to either star spells the end of contention as we saw this year.
Not to mention, Kemba Walker was brought in to replace Kyrie Irving which effectively has not worked out. The Celtics need more pieces to help Jayson Tatum, who is often relied upon to have extraordinary performances to lead Boston to victory. Schroder is only a year removed from averaging 18.9 PPG off the bench, while Kuzma is two years removed from averaging 18.7 PPG.
Both Schroder and Kuzma could benefit from being away from Los Angeles, and finding their games again. A sign and deal work best for Boston who can move on from Kemba's $36 million salary and get two pieces to help give them a more complete lineup. The Celtics could realistically field a lineup with Schroder, Brown, Tatum, Kuzma, and Tristan Thompson at center. Boston needs more depth and this deal gives them exactly that.