Los Angeles Lakers: Kyle Kuzma wasn’t traded, what happens now?

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
1 of 6
Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Kyle Kuzma survived the NBA trading deadline (Like again!) and will be with the Los Angeles Lakers through the rest of the season. Now that he wasn’t traded and the Lakers are stuck (According to some fans!) with Kuz, now what? Lake Show Life has a few pointers for both sides to make it through the rest of the season on a positive note.

Lake Show Life stated for weeks that the Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t trade Kyle Kuzma at the trade deadline. Sure the media reported that the team made a run at Marcus Morris at the last-minute.

Spoiler alert: The Los Angeles Lakers were never in any danger of making a deal with the New York Knicks. Sorry. There are two reasons why it was impossible.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers just didn’t have any first-round picks. If anyone hasn’t noticed, they are now en vogue around the NBA.
  • It’s the New York Knicks. Hello? Has anyone seen how the front office has been run lately? Sure, the Lakers offer was better (Assuming it’s true!), but they just fired the President of Operations, Steve Mills two days before the deadline. (There are two staff members on the site that are fans! We understand the dysfunction!)

Okay, Kyle Kuzma is still on the Lakers roster and will be on the tongue of every NBA analyst expecting him to be the theoretical third guy for the team for the rest of the season. It seems imperative to complete the “Big 3” that is the blueprint of any LeBron James team for the rest of his career.

If you listen to desperate Lakers casuals, they will give you a laundry list of reasons why the Lakers should have offloaded Kyle Kuzma for a veteran 3 and D guy to mask the myriad of issues on the roster.

For the rest of the season, whether he plays a good floor game or not, Kuzma will become the lightning rod for NBA 2K analysts and ESPN Trade Machine GMs on social media. The “hot takes” will become the narrative (Also read: Becoming the fall guy for LeBron not getting a ring!) if the Lakers do not get past the Western Conference powers, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.

  • Kyle Kuzma is too inconsistent with his play.
  • Look at the numbers in comparison to last year. Kuzma’s scoring and rebounding have declined plus he still isn’t as good a defender as he needs to be.
  • The Lakers are in win-now mode and Kuzma, despite his talent, just isn’t ready to compete at the same level as his more experienced teammates.

Thank God, social media wasn’t around in Kobe Bryant‘s first three years. After throwing up four airballs in five minutes in the playoff loss to the Utah Jazz in 1997, fans would have been calling for him to be traded.

All of the experts talk really “intelligent” about finding LeBron that last player to make a championship run. What always gets left out is the said player who brings up the rear in the “Big 3” on LeBron’s team always struggles. That’s when a talented offensive player who is used to 15-20 shots a night can easily get held to 15-20 shots in a given week.

The Los Angeles Lakers front office and coaching staff wisely realizes the situation and challenges Kuzma is facing this year and how well he is dealing with them

  • Kyle Kuzma is still the young guy trying to figure out the NBA game on a roster full of established veteran players. In most instances, Kuzma would be sitting next to Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook
  • He’s the one key rotation player without the playoff experience. The Lakers are bringing him along to get him ready when the games really start to matter at the end of March.
  • What really gets lost here is Kyle Kuzma’s position for most of his career has been power forward. The Los Angeles Lakers basically gave up the farm for a guy that likes to play that spot in Anthony Davis
  • A starter last season, Kuzma is coming off the bench and averaging 10 fewer minutes while taking five fewer shots per game. He’s also been stifled by injuries, which has hampered his ability to settle into his new role alongside James and Anthony Davis.

What Lake Show Life is basically saying here is, Kuzma’s early struggles weren’t enough reason to make a move. The parties that were paying attention knew with the injuries and adjustments he was going to struggle.

Sometimes the best deals are the ones that were never made. The Houston Rockets nearly traded Robert Horry to the Detroit Pistons for Sean Elliott in his second year.

When the trade was voided, Horry’s mindset changed and he went from being a reluctant shooter to one of the most clutch shooters in NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers are very familiar with one of those shots right?

As for handling Kyle Kuzma for the rest of the year, you don’t have to take Robert Horry’s advice and read the paper or something. Just read the next several pages.