Pacific Notes: Booker, Lakers, Kuzma

Devin Booker is in the first year of five-year, $158 million extension, which would signal that he’s the Suns‘ franchise player. Yet, could Phoenix end up trading the shooting guard? Former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox recently speculated that Booker could be one of the big names on the move in the future (as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays).

Wilcox was speculating on which players would be moved soon (the former GM named Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala), later in the season (Kevin Love and Bradley Beal), and in the future (Booker and Andrew Wiggins).

Booker was selected by the Suns in the 2015 draft and Phoenix hasn’t made the playoff since he arrived in town, something the franchise desperately wants to change. Still, it’s likely the Suns will ride it out with the Kentucky product for the foreseeable future, though I’d speculate that the team could fetch a sizable return for Booker should they ever make him available on the trade market.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • ESPN’s Tim Bontemps examined the Lakers‘ schedule and believes the team will have a strong start to the season (via The Jump). The scribe explains how Los Angeles’ schedule is back-loaded with marquee games that are expected to be challenging.
  • Kyle Kuzma expects to compete for a starting spot on the Lakers but ultimately, he’s happy to contribute in whatever role the team needs, as Shams Charania of The Athletic writes. “Bench, whatever, I’m still going to get my game off regardless,” Kuzma said. “…My mindset develops every single day being around guys, having a relationship with LeBron. That gives me more confidence, the wisdom that he gives. Being around Magic Johnson and Kobe. Everybody. It grows and grows, matures and creates that mindset that defines you.”
  • While Kuzma is willing to come off the bench, he pictures himself as the third star on the team. “My motivation is there to be that third guy,” Kuzma said (via Charania in the same piece). “For the simple fact that playing with LeBron, with AD, I got high dreams for myself to do some pretty special things in my career. So that’s motivation in itself. It’s a testament to my work ethic and laying down the groundwork for my past two years being in the league.”
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26 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Booker, Lakers, Kuzma

  1. Stat

    No way the suns should move Booker. He’s shown to be an elite scorer and is still developing. Why trade him when you’re just likely to get picks that could be the next Chriss, Bender, Jackson etc

    • Jason Lancaster

      Because he’s sick and tired of the Suns ownership and demands a trade.

      Booker has had what, four different head coaches? His team just made a series of baffling moves at the draft, and he’s not any closer to winning at a high level with all the moves other Western conference teams have made.

      He’s all but certain to demand a trade, if he hasn’t done so already.

  2. MiserablePadreFan

    I stopped reading after the second sentence. Suns aren’t trading Devon Booker.

  3. Tazza

    Suns are one of the dumbest run franchises in the NBA. They continually make bad draft decisions and fail to build around Booker. I couldn’t see the Suns waging to trade him but I could see Devin getting fed up with the Suns similarly to AD with the pelicans and then him requesting a trade. Wouldn’t happen this year but could next or the year after. He’s secured the money now he needs to start getting some wins

    • Boston2AZ

      Booker is not elite. He’s just the best player on a dismal team. Comparing him to AD is wildly inaccurate.

      • Tazza

        It’s really not that much of a reach. Booker in his fourth season averaged 26.6p 7a 4r 1s, whereas AD in his fourth had 24p 10r 2a 2b 1s. So Booker has more points and more assists naturally, and AD had more rebounds and blocks naturally. Bookers’ suns record was 19-63 compared to ADs’ pelicans with 30-52 but Booker only had rookie Ayton whereas AD had Eric Gordan and Jrue Holiday. Obviously in today game AD is the better player but you have to be an idiot if you can’t see similarities between the two players situations they had/have.

        • I give no fox

          The guy saying Booker is similar to AD is calling people idiots…now that’s rich. They scored the same amount of points one season therefore they have to have similar career arcs. You also are cherry picking one season, the year prior AD was all Nba 1st team and Nola was in the playoffs. Compare bookers season prior, you still making this ridiculous argument?

          • jump shot

            Seemed to me he was making an analogy in comparing their situations – not comparing them as players. Their situations ARE similar.

            • I give no fox

              He literally quoted their stats in the second sentence…what situation is that? A good player on a bad team? Welcome to half the NBA. AD’s situation included him being one of the best players in the league. Taking a team to the playoffs. Being an all Nba talent. Devin booker’s situation is being the best player on a perennial loser who have squandered lottery pick after lottery pick. I love booker, don’t get me wrong, but I’d say his situation is quite unique as he has been a very good player yet his team has been awful for so long without a playoff spot. I would say he is closer to jimmy butler or kemba walker, but they took their teams to the playoffs, albeit in a weak east. KAT could be another comp.

              • Tazza

                I was originally comparing there situation. Players that have stayed loyal to the team that drafted them even tho that team sucks. Both teams drafted great players and have failed to build around them after years and years. I then got told Booker is not elite, so I brag in stats to show that Booker and AD in their court years on their careers had similar stats and similar ish records and pointed out the players around them as to why ADs was better. It’s stupid to say there is no similarity between the two players situation but it’s also stupid to just say Booker is not elite in just his fourth season. I know Booker is not a top 20 player and I never said he was but he’s still developing and he has potential to be a top 20 player within a year or two.

                • jump shot

                  Same Booker that scored 70? Again, I got the comparison and regardless of mentioning stats, my take was that he was comparing situations. Anyway, talentwise, it’d be big apple and smaller apple – not apples and oranges.

  4. johnstodder

    Kuzma is trying WAY too hard to ingratiate himself to the Laker fan base.

    OTOH the Laker fan base needs constantly flattery, so maybe he’s reading it right. But what happens when LeBron gets a hankerin’ for an old running buddy, and Kuzma gets traded?

    • mcdusty49

      Constant flattery? Ingratiating himself to the fan base? Agree to disagree

    • halofanatic

      I can’t speak for the rest of Laker fans, but I am continually impressed with Kuzma and his game. I hope he’s a Laker for life. The sky is the limit.

    • IslandFlava

      How so…
      PG Rondo/LBJ pass first guys
      SF LBJ pass first guy
      PF AD 5APG last year, hardly a selfish player
      C AD/DMC again 2 bigs giving 5APG…
      really if Kuzma doesn’t see the ball I will be surprised!

    • Tazza

      Kuzma got to be the go to guy last year when Bron was out for scoring, whereas this year he will get touches behind LBJ AD and Cousins plus Rondo will want the ball. No doubt he will still get some touches and some ball but I doubt he’s going to contribute nearly as much as he did the last two years

    • Tazza

      Kuzma got to be the go to guy last year when Bron was out for scoring, whereas this year he will get touches behind LBJ AD and Cousins plus Rondo will want the ball. No doubt he will still get some touches and some ball but I doubt he’s going to contribute nearly as much as he did the last two years

    • Major Factuh

      Kuz has a spot at the table. He’ll feast. As pointed out above, this team has good assist guys.

  5. Simple Fan

    I was looking at the Trail Blazers’ schedule and it isn’t the Suns’. It’s a lot different

      • Simple Fan

        I’d also love to have some feedback on my comment. I looked at the Trail Blazers’ schedule. Is it anything okay or even remotely acceptable?

  6. noahrnoahr

    Now that Boogie is out, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Kuzma doesn’t start. I think he was going to start anyway (especially with all the talk of Lebron playing point — if Rondo doesn’t start, then Kuzma was always going to start).

    Whoever starts, seems they their top four minutes guys will be Lebron, Green, Kuzma, and AD, and that those four will close most games.

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