The NBA trade deadline is three weeks away. There isn't nearly as much activity as last season, which was headlined by Anthony Davis and his attempts to get out of New Orleans. But in the first season since 2014 where the championship feels truly up for grabs (and a pretty weak draft awaiting the tanking squads in June), you can bet just about every team in the playoff picture right now will be looking for upgrades.
It doesn't seem likely any big names will be on the move outside of maybe Andre Drummond, if one defines him as a "big" name. Kyle Kuzma is the other "big" name getting mentioned in trade rumors leading up to February 6. The Lakers have the best record in the West, but Kuzma hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations set for him as the third scorer on the team behind LeBron James and Davis. Stephen A. Smith believes the Lakers should swing for the fences and try to trade Kuzma for Devin Booker.
That's, uh, quite a proposal. Let's start with the money part: The only way this trade can happen is if the Lakers send out Danny Green and his $14 million salary along with Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. As one of the league's best three-and-D players, the Lakers probably wouldn't be too eager to throw Green in there.
Smith also vaguely suggested the Lakers should package picks with Kuzma to make it more appealing for Phoenix, but LA already owes their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks to New Orleans, as well as a pick swap in 2024 or 2025. They can't trade picks in consecutive years, so they would be unable to send out their 2020 pick. They have no additional draft picks incoming. The war chest was emptied for Davis, a move they're quite happy with right now.
So, what's the incentive for Phoenix to trade their franchise cornerstone in Booker, a flawed player but already one of the best scorers in the league at 23 years old? Kuzma has his moments, but it wouldn't be a big surprise for him to top out as a fringe All-Star player. He's also older than Booker.
In short, this trade is as preposterous as it sounds. Booker on the same squad with Davis and LeBron is fun to imagine, but his disinterest in playing defense wouldn't really mesh with the team they've built, as good as he is offensively. Keep dreaming, Lakers fans.