The Lakers lost in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs and struggled towards the end of the season when LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both beaten up. The squad’s problems extend beyond the injured stars, however, and GM Rob Pelinka is trying to fix a large problem area this off-season.
Los Angeles only shot 34.9 percent from the arc last season, which was 23rd in the NBA with the Timberwolves. Hence, the Lakers are looking for an upgrade and may have one in mind.
As Shams Charania of The Athletic reports, the Lakers around James and Davis pursue a “player who provides playmaker and shot creation”. One option they discussed trading for is King’s Guard Buddy Hield, and a package to get him could include Kyle Kuzma.
The Lakers and Sacramento Kings have discussed a deal that will focus on security guard Buddy Hield, sources tell The Athletic. Lakers striker Kyle Kuzma would be involved in a potential package, according to sources. The Lakers have received interest in Kuzma from several teams, sources said.
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Hield would certainly be an upgrade for the Lakers. He’s a 3 point shooter of 40.6 percent and made 39.1 percent of his shots last year while averaging 16.6 points and 3.6 assists per game. He might not have that many shots per game with the Lakers, but he would make a good spot-up shooter for the team around James and Davis.
As for Kuzma, his game has stagnated in recent years despite working with LeBron and AD. In his first two seasons, he averaged 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 45.3 percent. In two years with the Stars, he’s averaged just 12.8 points and 5.6 rebounds, while his shooting percentage has dropped to 43.9 percent.
Kuzma has just turned 26 and still has some perks, but the Lakers seem ready to leave him. In fact, the Lakers seem ready to deal with both him and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently pointed out on a podcast with Zach Lowe.
“Almost every team I speak to in the league has been offered a combination of Kuz and KCP,” said Wojnarowski. “Sometimes both of them, one of them, and she won’t get that back to become a point guard for Dennis [Schroder’s] Stature.”
Maybe this package won’t bring you quality point guard, but could it bring you a shooter like Hield? Perhaps, although Los Angeles may need to add design capital. At the same time, Hield has expressed displeasure with Sacramento at times in recent years, so the Kings may be interested in giving 28-year-old Hield a fresh start.