News broke yesterday that the Los Angeles Lakers are shopping Kyle Kuzma and that the Sacramento Kings are one of the teams interested in obtaining the young power forward.
Los Angeles has made it known, however, that they would not deal Kuzma to the Kings unless Sacramento offered Bogdan Bogdanovic in the trade package.
So, should Vlade pull the trigger and send Bogi to LA for Kuzma?[table “15” not found /]
When comparing the two from this year, it is apparent that Bogdanovic is having the better season. Bogi is shooting the ball slightly better, scoring more points, and dishing out more assists than Kuz. But let’s not forget that there are other factors in making this decision.[table “16” not found /]
With both players having three seasons under their belt and only a difference of four games played in their careers, the numbers stack up a lot closer making for a more intriguing deal to pull the trigger on.
Kuzma is three years younger and has a higher ceiling than Bogi, having scored 16.1 and 18.7 points per game respectively in his rookie and sophomore campaigns before being given a bench role this season.
When looking at advanced stats, Kuzma is doing better than Bogi in both offensive rating and defensive rating this season. Kuzma holds an offensive rating of 108.2 and a defensive rating of 103.5 while Bogi has an offensive rating of 104.8 and a defensive rating of 107.2 this year.
Not to say Bogi isn’t valuable though, as the Serbian provides a strong presence off the bench. But Bogi will never be more than a sixth man for the Kings as the franchise plans for Fox and Hield to hold down the backcourt for years to come.
If everything goes as planned in the rebuild, Kuzma could start next to Bagley in the frontcourt and provide a stretch four role that would allow Bagley to dominate in the paint.
Nemanja Bjelica performs this role excellently right now, but he isn’t built for the fast-paced play the Kings thrive in. Kuzma would be perfect for it.
Even if the Kings obtain Kuzma and decide to keep him on the bench in favor of a Holmes, Bagley starting tandem, Kuzma would still be able to perform important sixth man duties for Walton.
In terms of contracts, Bogi can stay with Sacramento next year if he signs a qualifying offer or the Kings can keep him as a restricted free agent.
But Bogdanovic may want a bigger role than coming off the bench, and teams might offer more lucrative contracts in free agency in a season or two, so an exit from Sacramento would not be totally shocking for Bogdanovic.
On the other hand, if Kuzma is dealt to the Kings, he would be with the team for at least another season before he would need to sign a qualifying offer or become a restricted free agent.
This could work in Sacramento’s favor as the Kings could solidify their young core furthermore and really cap off their 14 year rebuild.
None of this is to say that sticking with Bogdanovic isn’t the right way to go. He has proven to be a consistent, and clutch player for the Kings performing well in a critical sixth man role.
But if Sacramento doesn’t think they can hold onto Bogi, or if the rebuild seems like it will take another couple years, then a younger Kuzma with a more flexible contract situation would probably work better for Sacramento.