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Knicks have reportedly had ‘exploratory talks’ with Lakers about Kyle Kuzma

The Lakers may have found another suitor for Kyle Kuzma, with the Knicks now willing to talk with teams about Marcus Morris as well.

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Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Knicks are the latest team to have shown interest in trading for Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma ahead of the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline, according to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday. It’s been previously reported that the Sacramento Kings had interest in the 24-year-old.

Charania also hinted that Marcus Morris is the player the Lakers would expect to get back:

The Knicks had previously been reluctant to trade Morris, but after they fired their general manager Steve Mills on Monday, he’s available, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Morris would be an excellent return for Kuzma, who’s been hot and cold for most of the season due to how much his role with the team has changed compared to last year. The only problem is that $13 million separates Kuzma and Morris’ respective salaries.

In order to execute a trade for Morris, the least the Lakers would have to send out is Avery Bradley, DeMarcus Cousins and Kuzma. Any combination outside of those three players would have to include an additional player, and four for one trades are borderline impossible in the regular season. In theory, they could send out Danny Green’s $14.6 million salary, but Green and Kuzma for Morris would be a lateral move, at best.

Going with the assumption that Bradley, Cousins and Kuzma is the package the Lakers offer, the Knicks will almost certainly have better offers for Morris than that, most notably from the LA Clippers, who can trade their first-rounder this year. Additionally, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers trading Cousins given how close he is to Davis — the one player they need to make a good impression on this season.

Outside of Morris, the Knicks don’t have anyone that would help the Lakers move closer to championship contention this season. Frank Ntilikina is an interesting player, but he’s arguably more of a project that Kuzma is. With championship aspirations, the Lakers likely aren’t interested in making upside plays.

In other words, unless the market for Morris is dry or the Knicks see Kuzma as a potential superstar, don’t expect these talks to amount to anything before Thursday.

You can keep track of every trade rumor involving the Lakers here. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.

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