Lakers: There are only 2 Kyle Kuzma trade scenarios that make sense

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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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The basketball reasons

Yes, the Lakers are currently the number one seed in the Western Conference, but one small wart has emerged during the first half of the season; the Purple and Gold lack a consistent third scorer. There’s no one on the squad, outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who can get their own bucket out of isolation.

A model can put makeup over the little wart on her chin, and her publicist can help her Photoshop it out of the pictures she takes. But if that model gets caught with no makeup, or there’s a random Photoshop mistake in one of her magazine covers, then her days on top of the industry are over.

The Lakers are no different. LBJ and AD’s greatness, along with a top-5 defense, can mask the Lakers’ lack of a third scoring option all the way to the Western Conference finals. But once the Purple and Gold meet one of the three most physical teams in the postseason – the Clippers, Bucks, or 76ers – the Lakers one little chin wart could get exposed, ending LA’s title hopes.

Rob Pelinka and company should only trade Kyle Kuzma if they can get a legitimate third scorer, a player who can be a real X factor in the playoffs against a team like the Clippers.

Kyle Kuzma’s making the tiny sum of $2 million this season, so there’s no way the Lakers will be able to trade “Kuz” by himself for an impact scorer because it’ll be impossible to match salaries.

For example, one popular trade idea running its way through the internet is Kyle Kuzma for the Sacramento Kings Bogdan Bogdanovic. This trade doesn’t work, because Bogdanovic is earning $8.5 million this season, which is too far over Kuzma’s meager $2 million salary.

So, the Lakers would have to add in another critical rotation player like Avery Bradley for Bogdan, a mediocre player who has never played winning basketball in the NBA. Bogdanovic might be able to manufacture a quality look for himself against a team like the Suns, but he’d look like a D-2 player against a focused Clippers squad in the playoffs.

The only option the Lakers have is to package three players for a high-quality scorer and playmaker in return.