The Los Angeles Lakers have been shopping Kyle Kuzma and the latest proposed trade has the 25-year-old forward heading to the Orlando Magic for sharpshooter Terrence Ross.
The hypothetical trade comes via Grant Hughes of Bleacher report, who pitched the move as something that could shake up “stale” NBA rosters. Ross having the ability to create his own offense, Kuzma’s desire for a larger role and the Lakers’ lack of efficiency on the offensive end were cited as reasons the sides would try to make a move.
Last year, Ross was assisted on 48.5 percent of his twos and 77.5 percent of his threes, while teammates set up Kuzma with 54.5 and 92.7 percent frequency, respectively. The combination of greater self-sufficiency and superior accuracy makes Ross an upgrade over Kuzma, and that’s without mentioning the latter’s not-so-secret desire to expand his role—which simply may not be possible on a team that already has two superstars.
Ross is a career 36% shooter from beyond the arc and is coming off a season where he scored a career-best 15.6 points per game on a bad Magic team. He was linked to the Lakers at the trade deadline last year via a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. However, Orlando opted to keep him on the roster instead.
Kyle Kuzma Desires ‘Consistent Role’
Kuzma has been vocal about his role on the Lakers since Anthony Davis’ arrival bumped him to the bench. He’s tried to improve different parts of his game so he can continue to be an asset, however, it’s apparent he has some hard feelings about how he’s being used.
“My biggest thing is I just want to play within a consistent role,” Kuzma told Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report. “If I have that ability, I’ll be able to showcase what I can really do. There were parts of this year—and even anywhere else in my career—when I’m in a consistent space, I’m out there handling the ball, making teammates better, scoring, shooting, defending, rebounding. I think if I’m in that space, I’ll be good.”
Kuzma bounced in and out of the starting lineup with the Lakers dealing with a bevy of injuries. He started 32 of 68 games — the most since his second year in the league. He averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, shooting just over 36% from 3-point land.
The Lakers have been shopping Kuzma this offseason and gauging the interest of teams around the league, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, there appears to be more interest in a potential sign-and-trade deal with point guard Dennis Schroder.
Kyle Kuzma Believes He Can Be An All-Star
In the interview with Conway Kuzma said that he believes he can be an All-Star-caliber player, scoring 25 points per game. However, itr seems a bit unrealistic on the current Lakers roster with so much going through Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
“I definitely can. I definitely believe that, too. I don’t really care what nobody thinks or says. I know myself, and I know my ability. It’s hard to be consistent in an inconsistent role. I’m excited for a more consistent space next year,” Kuzma said.
“I’ve done a great job every offseason of trying to build something and add something to my game. I’ve turned myself into a great defender. My rookie year, I was a stop sign on defense. I didn’t really stop anybody. Now, whether it’s elite wings, 4 men, even point guards and shooting guards, I have the ability to guard four positions now and really affect the game on that end of the court.”
Have we seen the last of Kuzma in purple and gold? We’ll see how it all shakes out this offseason.
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