The Los Angeles Lakers flamed out in the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Phoenix Suns this past season. Although injuries obviously hobbled last year’s champs to some degree, they weren’t the only problem.
Rather, it was clear that this roster, although supremely talented on paper, lacked cohesion. This was evident when certain players couldn’t stop taking to social media to complain about things, time after time after time.
Heck, at one point guys were vocally talking about the bad chemistry that was dragging the entire team down.
This week, some details emerged that shined a light on what precisely the “chemistry” problems were.
It is something of an open secret at this point that Dennis Schroder rubbed a lot of his teammates the wrong way. They hated him. But there was one guy in particular he really didn’t get along with: Kyle Kuzma.
“League sources say Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma feuded throughout the season, with things going further south throughout the Lakers’ first-round series loss to Phoenix,” reported NBA insider Jordan Schultz. “Interesting note to consider heading into the draft and free agency.”
In some ways, the beef is understandable. Schroder seems to have awful people skills and he likely got irritated with Kuzma’s porous playoff performance. The 25-year-old went from averaging 12.9 points per game to just under 7 points per game in the Suns series, all while shooting 29 percent from the field. Schroder likely was simply unable to bite his tongue.
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
That said, Schroder’s inability to be a good team player is a problem as well, and a big reason why his name is being floated in some blockbuster sign-and-trade deals.
Kuzma, meanwhile, is owed $39 million over the next three years – but he is close to being dealt as well.
Big picture, this chatter confirms what a lot of people believed but couldn’t prove: a lot of the Lakers’ losing this season came from locker room dysfunctionality. Hopefully the front office learns from its mistakes and puts some better role players around LeBron James and Anthony Davis next season.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.