Rookie forward Kyle Kuzma has turned into a sensation for Laker fans. With his hot play, the latest Lakers rumors may signal a trade of the existing power forward.
Kyle Kuzma – selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft – has been putting together quite the preseason for the Los Angeles Lakers. First, it was the NBA Summer League, where Kuzma averaged 21.9 points and 6.4 rebounds on 51.4% shooting.
That strong play transitioned directly into the NBA Preseason. During the NBA Summer League, critics were fast to point out that he was not facing true NBA level competition. Those naysayers cannot take that same exit route with the NBA Preseason.
Against “NBA level competition” Kuzma is continuing to thrive, building his own hype train. Kuzma ranks third in the NBA in scoring, averaging 21.0 points per game, all while shooting 65.8% from the field. Say what you want about the preseason, anyone that can shoot 65.8% will translate well to the NBA.
However, this strong play may be signaling a bittersweet goodbye for a favored Laker. Power forward Julius Randle stands in the way of Kuzma at power forward, with Brandon Ingram blocking the path at small forward. As Magic Johnson said, Ingram is untouchable, so Randle may be the first to go.
However, the Lakers can utilize Randle’s youth and promise to also get rid of a big contract, much like they did with D’Angelo Russell. While Randle may not be on the young superstar level like Ingram still is, he certainly has enough value to convince teams to eat a large salary, such as Luol Deng’s.
If Kuzma keeps playing at this level the Lakers may have no other option than to trade someone in the starting five. With that being said, here are the three best trade suitors for Julius Randle.