KEY POINTS

  • Kyle Kuzma has been the center of trade talks for the Los Angeles Lakers but it hasn’t affected his performance
  • Marcus Morris has become the Knicks’ leading scorer with Julius Randle as a close second
  • Dennis Smith, Jr. hasn’t lived up to the hype after his arrival to the Knicks as part of Kristaps Porzingis deal

Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Kyle Kuzma has been proving himself as a steal of his draft class with the numbers that he’s been producing for the purple and gold. Drafted 27th in the 2017 NBA draft, he’s been one of the more reliable scorers off the bench for coach Frank Vogel.

Meanwhile, the New York Knicks failed to lure big names to play in Manhattan during the offseason. The team settled with Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, and Marcus Morris and has been performing beyond expectations. Morris has become the team’s leading scorer after 40 games, averaging 19.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the 33 outings while Randle is contributing 18.7 points and team-best 9.1 boards in 38 games, all as a starter.

With the two teams involved, a Fansided article has reported that New York should make a run for the Lakers’ young forward and make before the February trade deadline. Being the third option on offense behind NBA superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James, Kuzma could find more freedom wearing the orange and blue.

Kuzma has been logging 26 points on average in their last three games, including 36 markers in their victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bringing him to the Knickerbockers with Avery Bradley and Quinn Cook in exchange for scoring guards Dennis Smith, Jr., Reggie Bullock, and Allonzo Trier could be a package that can materialize for both teams.

Smith, Jr. hasn’t lived up to the expectations since acquiring him from the Dallas Mavericks as a part of Kristaps Porzingis deal. Currently out with an oblique strain, the high-flying guard from North Carolina has only averaged 5.2 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 21 games. Trier’s ball-handling wizardry and Bullock’s shooting can be an asset to the Lakers team, who is also in need of another point guard – and Trier can be transformed into a point guard under LeBron’s guidance.

Kuzma’s scoring can add more scoring next to Morris and Randle and Bradley’s defense can provide the team’s much-needed stance in closing out games as he was named in NBA defensive teams three times. Giving out Smith and Trier could also mean more minutes for young talents on the bench like Kevin Knox, who was left out of the rotation but has shown potential in his first season in the league.