At a time when smokescreens cloud the air around the NBA Draft and free agency, sources around the league have consistently told NBC Sports one thing: The Lakers have been maybe the most active, aggressive team looking for trades.
What they want is a ball-handling point guard to take some weight off of LeBron James — the role Rajon Rondo played so well in the bubble, the role they hoped Dennis Schroder would have played last year. To get that player, the Lakers are offering to trade Kyle Kuzma and/or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — and they have offered them to “everyone,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on The Woj & Lowe draft and free agency show on ESPN.
Lakers have offered some type of combination of Kuzma and KCP to almost every team that Woj has talked to. 👀pic.twitter.com/dYWodDZZQw
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) July 25, 2021
There is limited interest in Kuzma around the league — at least for what the Lakers want in return — but some teams are continuing the conversation. One trade that has gained a little traction would bring sharpshooter Buddy Hield to the Lakers, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Lakers and Sacramento Kings have discussed a deal centered on guard Buddy Hield, sources tell The Athletic. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma would be involved in a potential package, per sources. The Lakers have received interest from several teams regarding Kuzma, sources said.
Hield averaged 16.6 points a game and would be the best 3-point shooter on the Lakers (39.1% last season, better than 40% for his career). While he can put the ball on the floor and run some pick-and-roll, he’s not the kind of shot creator the Lakers are looking for. Hield has three fully guaranteed years remaining on his contract for a total of $61.6 million.
The Lakers are not the only team looking for veteran help and finding little available. Los Angeles doesn’t have the cap space to sign Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, or other shot creators as free agents — L.A. likely only will have the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.9 million — meaning it would have to be a sign-and-trade, possibly involving Schroder going out. However, a sign-and-trade to bring in a free agent hard caps the Lakers and would make rounding out the roster with championship-level players very challenging.
The Lakers and GM Rob Pelinka are being aggressive, but there are no easy answers out there.