In trading for Dennis Schröder, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired one of the best available point guards on the market, but not the best available point guard. In fact, he wasn’t even the best available point guard in Oklahoma City. That title belongs to Chris Paul, or at least it did before he was traded to the Phoenix Suns on Monday.
The Lakers were heavily linked to Paul, but they ultimately didn’t have the right combination of assets or contracts to pry him away from the Thunder. Apparently, the same can be said about the Lakers and Jrue Holiday.
During a recent appearance on the “Locked on Lakers” podcast, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report revealed the Lakers made an offer for Holiday before they agreed to terms with the Thunder, and unlike the package for Schröder, it involved Kyle Kuzma:
“From what I understand, there was interest in Jrue Holiday on the Lakers’ side ahead of Dennis Schröder with a similar package, but with Kuzma in it as well … so I know that, on some level, they’d be willing to move him. Like, if it was a significant upgrade.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Lakers weren’t able to put together a competitive offer for Holiday. He’s one of the best two-way point guards in the NBA and, for that reason, the Pelicans aren’t in any hurry to get rid of him. What is a little surprising is that they were willing to offer Kuzma, a player that they considered untouchable just over a year ago.
Does that mean the Lakers are actively shopping Kuzma? Maybe not, but it does mean they’re willing to make him available in the right deal, as Pincus noted. Those deals might be harder to come by now that the Lakers don’t have Green or the No. 28 pick to offer in addition to Kuzma’s $3.56 million salary, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Kuzma being on the Lakers’ opening night roster, but a lot could change between now and then. That’s especially true if both JaVale McGee and Avery Bradley opt into their contracts.
Their aggregate salaries, combined with Quinn Cook’s non-guaranteed $3 million salary, would allow the Lakers to send out roughly $16 million in salary. Kelly Oubre. Jr. makes $14.3 million. You read between the lines.