Kuzma was reportedly in the Buddy Hield trade package, before Lakers shifted focus to Russell Westbrook.
In an interview on “No Chill” with Gilbert Arenas, Kyle Kuzma said he was ready and expected to reunite with Luke Walton on the Sacramento Kings. Kuzma was part of the reported trade package along with Montrezl Harrell that would have sent Buddy Hield to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Right as it seemed the Hield to the Lakers deal was done, the Lakers quickly shifted focus to a Russell Westbrook deal instead. They sent Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick in the draft to Washington for Westbrook, effectively ending trade discussions with the Kings.
Kuzma told Arenas was shocked to see the trade talks between the Kings and Lakers break down:
“I was kind of shocked because I thought I was going to Sac,” Kuzma said on the show. “Like the Sacramento deal with Buddy Hield, that shit was done. So I’m thinking in my head, like, ‘OK, well, I’m in Sac, 45-minute flight. That’s not bad. I can go to Napa.”
Kuzma went on to say that he was happy that he ended up in Washington, given the opportunity to play with Bradley Beal and a better chance to win games:
“I was super hyped, obviously, because it’s a better situation,” Kuzma said. “Going to Sac would have been fun. I would have went crazy for sure, that’s how I think. But to have an opportunity to play with Brad Beal – someone that is trying to really be a winner in this league … he’s a killer man.”
Kuzma would have bolstered the Kings’ wing depth, which currently only features Harrison Barnes and Moe Harkless as far as guys with NBA experience. He also would have been the youngest of the group by two years.
Kuzma averaged 15.2 points per game and 5.6 rebounds during his four seasons with the Lakers.