Report: Teams receiving mixed messages about Kyle Kuzma’s availability

Kyle Kuzma
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 13: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 13, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)

As the NBA’s trade season heats up, few players have been in the rumor mill as much as Kyle Kuzma. The Los Angeles Lakers forward holds a position as one of the team’s very few tradeable assets and with general manager Rob Pelinka looking to improve the margins of the roster, he could become a casualty.

As much as Lakers fans have debated about whether trading Kuzma would be a good idea, there appears to be just as much uncertainty within the Lakers organizations. On the latest episode of ESPN’s Hoop Collective, Brian Windhorst revealed that teams have received mixed messages about the third-year pro:

“Kuzma is their best trade asset and I’m just going to say, there’s conflicting information out there about him. I’ve talked to three or four different teams who told me ‘Kyle Kuzma is available for trade. He can be had.’ There have been reports elsewhere and other people elsewhere have said that the Lakers have indicated they do not want to trade him.”

This could, of course, just be some posturing by the Lakers to drive up Kuzma’s trade value. But realistically, they are also unconvinced either way about his future with the purple and gold. Whether that means they end up keeping him or setting the cost so high (as they reportedly did in negotiations with the Kings, which they allegedly initiated) that teams believe they don’t actually want to move him, Kuzma’s future in LA is just as murky as it has ever been.

Ultimately, the takeaway seems to be that Kuzma is not untouchable by any means but that the Lakers value him highly enough that they want to move him only if a significant upgrade is available. That seems like the kind of due diligence that the front office should participate in just as long as these leaks do not affect Kuzma’s performance or the team chemistry.

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