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, Los Angeles Lakers and Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images /

The myriad of problems if the Lakers pursue Kyle Kuzma

Let’s get to the positives first: Kyle Kuzma has built himself into an excellent scoring threat, a crafty yet strong player who scored efficiently inside and can use his body to create space for his jumper. He’s also a solid defender, especially against 4s, and he is consistent, bringing effort and scoring pop every game he plays. He would instantly be the third-best player on this Lakers roster.

Yet adding Kuzma via trade doesn’t solve many, if any, of their actual problems. Kuzma is having a career season playing the 4 alongside a stretch-big in Kristaps Porzingis. On the Lakers he would join a collection of iffy shooters, cramping the space on the court. His 33.3 percent from 3-point range won’t help either. Winning with LeBron and Davis involves surrounding them with shooters; trading for Kuzma doesn’t help that.

It also is a poor asset play. Using one of the first-round picks means taking half of the true assets this team still has to make a big swing and spending them on a non-star, even if Kuzma is having a career year. He’s not a top-40 player in the league and he won’t move the needle for the Lakers in their quest to win the title.

He will also require a pay raise this summer, eating up most of their cap space; after the picks, that’s the Lakers’ best path to adding talent. If they can’t find a viable Westbrook trade to add an All-Star type of player, waiting until this summer and leveraging their cap space was the play. Adding Kuzma fails on both accounts.

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Should the Lakers have traded Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Griffith Observatory, and the Special Edition Blu-Ray of Winning Time for Russell Westbrook? Of course not, but spending more assets to bring Kuzma back doesn’t right that wrong. It just squeezes out the slim chances the Lakers do have to dig themselves out of this hole before LeBron is too old for it to matter.