Lakers news: Kyle Kuzma is the only member left from the Los Angeles Lakers’ once-celebrated young core after the team decided to trade Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis. The Purple and Gold made the third-year forward untouchable during their trade talks with the Pels, and Laker legend Kobe Bryant has an idea why.
Bryant was recently a guest in Real 92.3 LA’s “The Cruz Show,” where he gave his thoughts on why the Lakers did not include Kuzma in their trade negotiations with the Pelicans.
“Probably his versatility. I think the game used to be about having specialists on the floor and think it’s gotten away from that to having guys that can play all facets of the game. That includes offensively and defensively, and defensively he has the potential to be a great defensive player, so I think that’s one things they looked at as well as his shooting ability and just his size. I think you put all that in the pot and it made him indispensable for this summer.”
Last season, Kuzma was the Lakers’ second leading scorer as he put up 18.7 points, to go along with his 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He was able to shine in his own spotlight despite playing with four-time MVP LeBron James, and LA has been really impressed with him over the past two years.
But keeping Kuz off-limits in trade discussions wasn’t always the plan. In fact, the Lakers were willing to ship him to the Pelicans back in February when they first began their pursuit of AD. Fortunately, New Orleans wasn’t willing to cooperate with LA back then, as the former tried to explore better trade offers from other teams.
But trade deadline passed and the Pelicans were unable to trade Davis, and from that point, the Lakers already had the leverage. Sure, they still gave up a lot of young players and picks to get Davis, but at least they were able to keep Kuzma, a young, promising young player who could become the third star in LA.
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