Grade the trade: Proposal has Lakers bringing back former wing

The Lakers would get an underrated wing to add to their rotation in this trade pitch.
LeBron James, D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James, D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Would the Lakers make this trade?

If the Lakers can get Kuzma from the Wizards at this price, they would have to go for it. He may not be the best player available on the entire trade market, but that is the point here. LA has worn out the strategy of bringing in a third star player, and we are seeing examples from around the league proving that method as being outdated at this point.

The Suns have completely handicapped themselves in trading for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, two of the biggest names when it comes to top-level scorers in the NBA. They gave up extensive draft capital and good role players to gain big-name talent that has not panned out for them at all like they planned.

For the Lakers to avoid ending up like Phoenix, they should focus on making smaller plays like trading for a player like Kuzma. Rather than just swinging for the best player or scorer available on the market, the Lakers would do well to go for a player who is a better overall fit with their current roster. Kuzma can play on or off ball and could be an excellent complement to an aging LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Kuzma is under contract until the 2026-27 season, when he will earn $19.4 million. The Lakers would still be giving up depth in losing the three rostered players included in this deal, but they get back a proven player who has done it for them on the biggest stage before. Kyle knows what being a Laker takes, and his consistent play could be a major boost to LA in 2024-25.