Lakers can’t right their wrongs by trading for former player

Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images /
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Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images /

What a Lakers trade for Kyle Kuzma might look like

Kyle Kuzma is in the second season of the three-year extension he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he has a player option for the final season that would allow him to opt out and hit unrestricted free agency. He makes $13 million, which is much less than he is expected to make on the open market this upcoming summer.

The Lakers have a few different paths to getting close enough to that $13 million number. Because both the Washington Wizards and the Lakers are over the cap they will need to match salaries, but in the Lakers’ favor is the fact that they can take back up to 125% of the salary that they send out.

The simplest path is to trade Patrick Beverley, who makes an identical $13 million this season as an expiring contract. Another path would be to pair Kendrick Nunn and Lonnie Walker IV, was Walker will become eligible to trade on December 15th. That’s a less likely option for the Lakers as they rely on Walker for secondary scoring.

Playing the pu pu platter route doesn’t work here, as they would have to stack at least of their back-end veterans alongside Kendrick Nunn to make the salaries work, and that’s a lot of roster spots for the Wizards to free up. The craziest option is to ask about a larger deal involving Russell Westbrook, but the Wizards would have to stack up a bunch of their own contracts and the Lakers aren’t moving both the first-round picks they have available for a charcuterie board of role players either.

That makes a swap with Beverley the most viable option, but Beverley has played poorly this season and wouldn’t be much value, if any, to the Wizards. That would mean attaching one of the lucrative future first-round picks. Would that be enough for Washington? Is it worth it for the Lakers?