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Report: LeBron James supports Kyle Kuzma rather than pushing for Lakers to trade him

LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 1: LeBron James #23 and Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers shake hands against the Phoenix Suns on January 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Kyle Kuzma’s trainer, Clint Parks, posted to Instagram after Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers beat LeBron James’ Lakers on Christmas, “Watching Kawhi highlights from yesterday. NOBODY wants to speak on how sharp his skill set is compared to Lebrons. It’s clear who’s really in the LAB and who isn’t.” Kuzma tweeted, “Call a spade a spade [shrug emoji]”.

And we were off.

Yet, before a Lakers controversy – based significantly on reading into Kuzma’s vague tweet – fully formed, LeBron and Kuzma downplayed it. The players spoke with each other then addressed the media. Kuzma said he can’t control what someone else says and denied that his tweet referred to Parks’ post. LeBron said he didn’t care what Parks said and he’s used to people using his name for clout. LeBron truly sounded unbothered.

However, Kuzma is now suddenly in the thick of trade rumors.

Sam Amick of The Athletic:

As for James, whose influence and voice should never be overlooked in situations like this, a source with knowledge of his thinking said he remains supportive of Kuzma

Does LeBron have power to get Kuzma traded? Probably.

Would I put it past LeBron wanting Kuzma traded over something petty like this? No.

That someone, protected by anonymity, is denying a LeBron-Kuzma rift means only so much. Even if he wanted Kuzma moved, LeBron would probably deny it, maybe even through back channels like this. LeBron operates far more passive-aggressively. He doesn’t want the responsibility that comes with dictating roster moves like that.

Maybe this line of speculation is unfair to LeBron. Perhaps, he’s truly holds no grudge with Kuzma.

But given LeBron’s power, it’s impossible to ignore the possibility he’s involved.

We might never learn the truth. Kuzma never made sense as a scoring power forward on a team with LeBron and Anthony Davis. Kuzma was always the Lakers’ most useful trade chip. So, Los Angeles trading Kuzma would neither prove nor disprove anything.

At least the Lakers keeping Kuzma would indicate LeBron wasn’t pushing for them to trade Kuzma. Because, again, if LeBron wants Kuzma gone, Kuzma will probably be gone.