Lakers potential trade target: P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker may not have been as good defensively as the Houston Rockets were hoping for against the Los Angeles Lakers as he was often tasked with manning Anthony Davis. Tucker did get exposed at times in that playoff series.
Do not let that fool you. Anthony Davis is a generational player and has a huge size advantage over Tucker. He was put on AD in that series for a reason and he would provide really good bench defense for the Lakers.
Here is a deal that would work:
This trade would have to happen around the NBA Trade Deadline and it would give the Lakers time to evaluate Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma is in the last year of his rookie contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Like Julius Randle a few years ago, I would not be shocked if the Lakers simply didn’t match Kuzma’s offer sheet if he gets a big contract next offseason.
Of course, things can change but if he has not yet become the player that the Lakers can absolutely bank off the bench then I would not be surprised to see them trade his value as a young asset for someone who can fit that mold much better.
Tucker essentially is a better version (stylistically) for this team as Kuzma. He would play the exact same role as Kuzma off the bench, providing a much better defensive outlook as well as a more consistent three-point stroke.
Sure, the Lakers would be losing out on the youth in Kuzma but it might not even matter. They would essentially be swapping half a season of Kuzma to a team that can re-sign him for half a season of a veteran who is a better fit on the roster.