Knicks could potentially replace key stars with potent scoring forward on the trade block

Jan 18, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) drives to the basket against the New York Knicks during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have a dynamic scorer that they’ve been linked to in trade rumors as of late.

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma may be dealt this summer. The Wizards were the second-worst team in basketball last season with a 15-67 record. Kuzma, Jordan Poole, and their young nucleus did not show enough signs of being a unit that could quickly rise out of their rebuilding phase. Hence, SNY’s David Vertsberger named Kuzma as one of New York’s top-10 trade targets, saying this about his situation moving forward, via Yahoo Sports:

“After injuries to Randle and OG Anunoby sank New York in the playoffs, added frontcourt depth should be an area of focus in trade discussions. Kuzma is a dependable scorer and defender, but would he accept a smaller role on a winning team after turning down a trade to Dallas last season?” Vertsberger posed.

Knicks: Kyle Kuzma could fill the void at forward if OG Anunoby and Julius Randle depart

Jan 18, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan native would be an optimal option for the Knicks to consider. “Kuz” has worn many hats in the NBA. He was a key cog in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 championship team alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Rajon Rondo. The 6-foot-9 forward has also grown into his upside as a legitimate 20-point-per-game scorer over the last two years in Washington.

The Knicks could lose OG Anunoby in free agency, which would free up their starting small forward spot. They could also trade Julius Randle away for an All-Star. Depending on which All-Star that is, the Knicks’ entire forward lineup could look completely different before October rolls around.

Kuzma’s versatility, motor, and usage are all promising for the Knicks to consider

Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis, Knicks, Lakers, Wizards
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kuzma can naturally play both the three and the four. He is an apt outside shooter, having made 2.2 nightly threes in his Wizards tenure. He’s also a good rebounder, having averaged 7.4 boards in that same span. Approaching his age-29 NBA season, the Utah product would help the Knicks increase their speed and ball movement in the half-court.

Though he likes to touch the rock, he doesn’t hold on to it too long. He took the seventh-most one-dribble pull-up shots (2.9 FGA) last season on 54.5 percent shooting, the fifth-most shots off of two dribbles (2.6 FGA) at 47.6 percent and 6.3 shots off the catch. Case in point, Kuzma likes to get hot with his burner on high.

He has three years and $64.43 million left on his current contract. The Knicks would have to move a couple of eight-figure earners on their roster to make a deal work. While Kuzma isn’t known for his defense, the perks he brings on offense could greatly benefit the Knicks for years to come.

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