When the Los Angeles Lakers played the Boston Celtics last February, the game became an instant classic, with both teams going at each other’s necks for all 48 minutes and just one point separating them when the final buzzer sounded.
Monday’s matchup between the Lakers and Celtics was less dramatic on the court, but it was also less dramatic off of it. You see, last season, the Lakers were still dealing with the effects of the trade deadline, when everyone but LeBron James was offered to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis.
Almost a year later, and there are still trade rumors hovering over the locker room, but thus far, they’ve only involved one player: Kyle Kuzma, who ironically is the last man standing from the blockbuster Davis deal.
Kuzma spoke to Bill Oram of The Athletic after Monday’s game to talk about how he’s dealt with being in trade rumors again this season, and it sounds like he’s accepted that it’s just part of the job:
“I consumed it more last year,” he said. “This year is different I don’t care at all, but last year it was new and foreign, so it was like more of a can’t-really-escape-it thing. But for me it’s a little bit easier now. I don’t really have my Twitter like that. I don’t really use it.”
It’s an unfortunate situation for Kuzma to be in, for sure, but it’s one that almost everyone in the NBA has to deal with, especially non-essential players on contending teams like Kuzma.
Ideally, Kuzma would make himself so valuable that the Lakers would have to consider making him untouchable in trade talks, but he’s running out of time to do that with less than two weeks until the Feb. 6 trade deadline. Plus, it seems they’ve already floated his name to a few teams.
So, if a trade proposal involving Kuzma comes along that would make the Lakers title favorites this season, don’t be surprised to see them pull the trigger.