Should Lakers Trade To Bring Back Wizards’ Kyle Kuzma?

Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Trade Rumors, Washington Wizards
NBA Analysis Network

Hindsight is always 20/20. It is easy to look back and say the decision being a trade was bad once it has been proven. In the case of former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers, this is especially true.

There were not many if any, that argued the move for the Lakers to acquire Westbrook last offseason. This created a big three with LeBron James and Anthony Davis that many thought would win the NBA Championship this season. Well, it turns out that Westbrook was ineffective and the Lakers struggled with depth.

This raises the question, should the Lakers revisit the idea of bringing back Kyle Kuzma?

Kuzma began his career with the Lakers as an explosive scorer that could heat up quickly. Despite averaging 17.0 points per game over his first two years, he took a back seat when James came to town and played his role well.

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Kuzma averaged 12.9 points over his final two years in Los Angeles before being traded. Of course, he was part of the deal that helped the Lakers get Westbrook.

This season, Kuzma has started 66 games for the Washington Wizards. He is scoring 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. This has been a bit of a breakout campaign for Kuzma, giving Washington options. At 26 years old, the Wizards can choose to sign Kuzma or try and take advantage of the value built this season.

The Lakers should take a hard look at bringing back their former first-round draft pick. After being traded, Kuzma did not have any hard feelings, which means he might welcome the idea of returning.

“I don’t really play the ‘what if,’” Kuzma told NBA.com back in March. “I’m cemented as a winner, and I’m cemented as a Lakers champion. For me, it’s not about ‘what if.’ It’s time to move on. It’s time to improve my game.”

Kyle Kuzma came into the league as a potent scorer but what was learned is that he adapts well to his role. He did not shy away from losing touches or production as the Lakers attempted to pair superstars. Even when Davis was acquired, Los Angeles wanted to hang onto Kuzma because of what he brought, especially defensively.

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The Lakers allowed 114.8 points per game this season, which is 26th in the league. Opponents shot 35.2% from three-point range against Los Angeles and grabbed 46.7 rebounds per game; both numbers were in the league’s bottom half. This team did not do many little things well and lacked the intangibles needed to be a championship team. In this case, the names were not enough to lead the way.

Carmelo Anthony has contributed off the bench for the Lakers. Talen Horton-Tucker has played sparingly, while Malik Monk has also shown flashes. Outside of that, the production off the bench was very slim for the Lakers. This is where Kuzma, along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell, was missed for depth purposes.

The plan for Kuzma is unknown in Washington. He is making an impression and scoring at a high rate for a team looking to add some more firepower. The Wizards might want to keep Kuzma in D.C., and who knows what the Lakers would be able to give up? 

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The short answer is yes; the Lakers would benefit from acquiring Kuzma and probably wish that they never had to trade him in the first place. Will it happen? That is a different question entirely, and it is hard to imagine that they can find a deal.

If Kyle Kuzma is not the answer, the Los Angeles Lakers will have to find some more depth that can help next season.

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