NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers and Thunder Potentially Working on a Kemba Walker & Kyle Kuzma Swap

Published 07/06/2021, 9:05 PM EDT
Mar 31, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) shoots the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Lakers, although they saw an early exit from the 2021 playoffs, can feel better because they lost against a finals-bound team. But they’d not want to get habitual to the feeling and that’s where the off-season trades come into the spotlight.

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Last year, they let go of the talents in Danny Green, making their perimeter shooting a weak nerve. It’s true they remained a decent defensive side and finished the regular season as the best defenders, but that wasn’t enough. So now, they are contemplating various options to fill the void and a name is almost under final consideration.

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Kemba Walker to the Lakers is the work under process

The Celtics, after housing Kemba for two seasons, traded him (and 2021 drafts) to OKC for AI Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round pick. But given the team dynamics of Thunder and how they’re still years away from becoming a contending squad, a 31-YO does not fit that well. Nevertheless, he might still stay in Oklahoma given his bulky $73 million 2-year contract that is hard to match for any team.

Any, but the Lakers, who can go desperate in their ambitions and form a package to attract Kemba into the unit.  In an interview, ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently expressed, “Both the L.A. teams are going to be sniffing around Kemba Walker… that’s the market. Now, I don’t know if you can get up to the money, I don’t know if they have whatever Oklahoma City wants, but that’s the level that I think they can target.”

The Lakers will most probably not want to throw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into this trade package. However, apart from the first round picks, they might add Dennis Schroder (sign-and-trade) or Montrezl Harrell (player option) for a lure. Having said that, the possibility of letting go of a 25-YO Kyle Kuzma in this deal still sounds cloudy. 

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What are the pros and cons ahead of this deal?

Now here’s the catch. GM Sam Presti would not accept a deal where he couldn’t justify a quick turnaround for the Thunder. In those lines, he might demand Talen Horton-Tucker and a 2022 first-round pick too. The Lakers, who are $9,491,517 in negative in terms of cap space, will have to make a very calculated move.

The motivating factor for the Lake Show would be Kemba becoming their third best player. If the former Hornets point guard can keep healthy, he can be a great asset. His 36% three-point shooting, the scoring prowess, and defensive abilities can all come in handy.

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May 22, 2021; Kemba Walker against Kevin Durant during their playoff game at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

However, Kemba struggled big time in the 2021 playoffs, hitting a career-low average of 12.7 points (somewhat in a similar way how Kuzma struggled). His knee injuries in the past and also the neck injury are among the other factors for consideration.

So what do you think, is one such trade making sense for both teams? Or Kemba to the Sixers while the Lakers acquire someone like Bradley Beal makes more sense? Help us know what you think in the comments.

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Watch this story – Star Point Guards the Lakers Must Keep an Eye On This Off-Season

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Sourabh Singh

1419 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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