The Los Angeles Lakers’ season came to a disappointing conclusion when last year’s champs fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns. Yes, there was a lot of dirty play and extenuating circumstances at work – but a loss is a loss.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs failed to make the playoffs altogether. This has become a pattern. For yet another season, the team seemed stuck in this weird middle space between not being able to contend for a title and not fully committing to a rebuild.
Fortunately, a solution exists.
And it involves both the Lakers and Spurs.
As noted by Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, a sign-and-trade between these two teams could solve a lot of problems.
In this prospective deal, the Spurs would receive Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, and the Lakers’ No. 22 overall pick. LA, meanwhile, would walk away with homegrown talent DeMar DeRozan.
“Kyle Kuzma has improved his defense enough to be viewed as an asset on a three-year, $39 million pact (2023-24 player option),” he wrote.
“His standstill three-point shooting isn’t knockdown, but it’s good enough. The Spurs should have the runway to plumb the depths of his on-ball offense, an opportunity he hasn’t enjoyed since his rookie season. Also: Pop hearts Kuz.
“Montrezl Harrell doesn’t fit the San Antonio big-man mold, but he’s on an expiring contract, and they could use some rim-running pressure at the 5 spot. The value of No. 22 is self-explanatory: It’s another first-round prospect for a team that should want as many bites at the first-round apple as possible.”
This deal would make a lot of sense for both sides. Kuzma has made his feelings about staying with the Lakers very clear on social media.
Clearly both guys need a change of environment.
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 14, 2021
Similarly, DeRozan has been preparing to make his exit from San Antonio for more than a year. He would provide LA with a much-needed reliable third scoring option alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Will this deal definitely go down? It’s impossible to say. Should it, though? Absolutely.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.