The Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs a few weeks ago by the Phoenix Suns.
Given that the same core won a championship together just one season earlier, this year’s abrupt conclusion to the season led to a lot of soul-searching.
One byproduct of that soul-searching has been identifying the problem areas for LA.
That’s where Kyle Kuzma comes in.
Kuzma, 25, has yet to live up to the promise he first displayed in his rookie campaign. This past year he averaged 12.9 points per game on 44.3 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Those numbers would be passable if he had delivered in the playoffs – but he didn’t.
In the first round against the Suns, when the Lakers needed him most, Kuzma scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field in his team’s Game 6 defeat. It was just his latest disappointing outing, after he put up zero points in Game 1, two points in Game 2 and eight points in Game 3.
As such, the Lakers have decided to quietly make him available for a trade.
This week, Kuzma responded to this by removing all references to the Lakers from his social media profile.
— The Laker Files (@LakerFiles) June 18, 2021
So what does all this mean?
It means that a trade is likely. At one point, as many as three teams were interested in Kuzma’s services, but his stock has since waned. Currently two teams are viewed as favorites to make a trade for the former Utah standout.
Based on his documented friction with LeBron James and his lack of progression over the past few seasons, it seems like a virtual certainty that Kuzma will get moved at some point during the offseason.
Yikes Melo. Well that explains the divorce. https://t.co/Nnr9Mi3fMC
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 18, 2021