Kyle Kuzma: Lakers-Kings trade was ‘done’

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and Kings guard Buddy Hield
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers appeared to be on the verge of trading Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell to the Kings for Buddy Hield.

Instead, Los Angeles dealt Kuzma, Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick to get Russell Westbrook from the Wizards.

Kuzma, via Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports California:

“I was kind of shocked, because I thought I was going to Sac,” Kuzma said on “No Chill With Gilbert Arenas.” “Like the Sacramento deal with Buddy Hield, that s–t was done. So I’m thinking in my head, like, ‘OK, Sac, 45-minute flight. That’s not bad. I can go to Napa.’

“But then out of nowhere, you’re going to Washington.”

“I was super hyped because it’s a better situation,” Kuzma said.

“Going to Sac would have been fun, I would have went crazy for sure. That’s how I think. But to have an opportunity to play with Brad Beal — it’s someone that is really trying to be a winner in this league.”

Kuzma certainly has some strong ideas about his ability to handle a larger role and market preferences.

At least, as he says, he joins a team closer to the playoffs in Washington.

The trade falling through was probably a bigger bummer for Hield, who has sometimes seemed unhappy in Sacramento. He could have joined a championship contender in Los Angeles.

A shooter, Hield would have been an easier fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Acquiring Hield would have also allowed the Lakers to keep Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick – or use them in different trades.

Of course, Westbrook carries more star power. It’s completely understandable Los Angeles chose him.

But it’s a decision that looms large and is ripe for second-guessing.