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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Report: Kings, Lakers Discussing Hield-Kuzma Swap

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles is reportedly shopping Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the NBA Draft approaches

The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are reportedly discussing a deal centered around forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Buddy Hield, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Alex Kramers of Kings.com, it would be the first trade between Sacramento and Los Angeles since 1977 when the Kings traded forward Ollie Johnson to the Lakers in exchange for guard Lucius Allen.

Sacramento has been tied to Kuzma through trade rumors for years now, with new general manager Monte McNair and the Kings front office reportedly eying the 26-year-old as they look to shake up the roster.

The Lakers and 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.

Shams Charania of The Athletic (July 25, 2021)

Kuzma has played under Kings head coach Luke Walton in Los Angeles, posting 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.6 steals per game on 45-percent shooting from the field and 33-percent shooting from beyond the three-point line during the 2017-2019 seasons.

Once the Lakers acquired superstar Anthony Davis prior to the 2019-20 season, Kuzma’s role changed to that of a third-fourth option and role player.

In 2020-21, Kuzma posted a career-low 12.9 points per game to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 44/36/69 shooting splits.

Acquiring the 6’10 forward in exchange from Hield would take some money off of the books for a Kings franchise that has little-to-no financial wiggle room this offseason.

With three years and $39 million remaining on Kuzma’s contract, the Kings would save plenty of money after offloading Hield’s $61 million contract over the next three seasons. Of course, there is likely to be more to a potential deal than just Kuzma and Hield.

“Almost every team that I have talked to has been offered some combination of Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,” ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said during a Draft Special on Sunday morning.

Adding KCP to a Kuz-Hield swap muddies things a tad, with Caldwell-Pope still owed $27 million over the next two seasons. Sacramento could shed another contract in the deal, such as Delon Wright (owed $8.5 million in 2021-22) or Marvin Bagley III (owed $11 million in 2021-22), but that is seen as an unlikely.

Sacramento would like to free up cap space in order to retain free agent center Richaun Holmes, who is expected to get a contract outside of the Kings’ price range.

Los Angeles is in need of an outside shooting presence on their roster, having gone through multiple guards over the past two seasons in an effort to surround Davis and LeBron James with perimeter scoring. Hield could be exactly what the Lakers need, as the 28-year-old nearly knocked down 300 triples in 2020-21 while posting 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and a career-high 3.6 assists per game.

Hield’s 40-percent career three-point shooting percentage is his greatest asset when it comes to trade value, something that teams–the Lakers or others–will take a hard look at when assessing whether or not to make a move for the sharpshooter.

The Lakers ranked 21st in three-point shooting in 2020-21 (35%) and 25th in three-point field goal conversions per game.

Adding Kuzma gives the Kings a sizable, young, controllable wing to pair with De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes. Adding Kuzma in a deal that takes Hield off of the roster could have implications for the NBA Draft, as the team could draft a guard like Moses Moody, James Bouknight or Keon Johnson once the logjam at the shooting guard position is cleared.

If the Kings decide to hold onto both Hield and the number-nine pick, drafting defensive forward Franz Wagner could be the decision for McNair, with multiple reports linking the Michigan product to Sacramento.

With multiple teams in the mix for Kuzma, it’s tough to say if McNair makes a deal happen that also includes taking on more money, such KCP’s contract or more.

The rumor mill is heating up, so expect plenty more of these reports as Thursday’s draft gets closer.