The Los Angeles Lakers had a disappointing title defense in 2021, as LeBron James and Co. were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Phoenix Suns.
It’s shaping up to be an eventful offseason for the 2020 NBA champions, who could be on the verge of making a significant trade or two.
According to the latest reports from Bleacher Report NBA insider Jake Fischer, the Western Conference franchise is currently eyeing two potential trades.
Both Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder could be moved in trades this offseason.
Lakers continue to “gauge rival teams’ interest” in Kuz, per B/R’s @JakeLFischer
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 14, 2021
Schroder is coming off a productive season and is expected to command some serious interest in free agency. While he would likely prefer to stay put in Los Angeles, he could be moved in a potential sign-and-trade.
Both the Bulls and the Knicks are expected to show interest in Schroder this offseason. It’s possible the Lakers could work out a sign-and-trade with one of those teams, though it’s unclear if they would have anything L.A. is interested in.
Report: Bulls and Knicks expected to show interest in Dennis Schroder https://t.co/qVTAhoU2eG
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 14, 2021
Kuzma, meanwhile, was thought by many to be a serious building block for the Lakers moving forward. However, he’s failed to take that next leap as an NBA player. Kuzma remains confident in his future in the league, though.
“My biggest thing is I just want to play within a consistent role,” Kuzma said. “If I have that ability, I’ll be able to showcase what I can really do.”
That consistent role could come elsewhere, though.
Many Lakers fans are taking to Twitter to defend Kuzma. They believe he is capable of more if he gets the opportunity to prove it in Los Angeles.
Stop the Kyle Kuzma slander. He’s a Laker. And until he’s not we gotta stop.
— O’Shea Jack(Nichol)son (@OsheaJacksonJr) July 14, 2021
Whatever the Lakers do this offseason, they better do it well. You can say that about every NBA team, of course, but not every NBA team has an aging LeBron James. The four-time NBA champion isn’t retiring anytime soon, but at 36, he likely doesn’t have too many elite seasons left.
The Lakers need to do whatever they can to add another big piece or two around the superstar forward.