The Los Angeles Lakers have been handing out cash left and right over the past few days. LeBron James received a two-year, $85 million extension on Wednesday, and Anthony Davis got a five-year, $190 million deal on Thursday.
Will Kyle Kuzma be next in line for a massive payday? It is unclear.
Kuzma is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is said to be looking for a “sizable” contract.
On Thursday, ESPN NBA insider Dave McMenamin asked the Lakers youngster about the status of his potential new deal.
“We’ll see,” he replied.
When asked to elaborate later on, Kuzma confirmed that negotiations have taken place but declined to comment on what specifically was discussed.
So where does Kuzma’s future with LA stand? It is unclear.
The 25-year-old’s numbers fell dramatically this past year due to the arrival of Anthony Davis.
Kuzma went from averaging 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 30.3 percent beyond the arc, to 12.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 43.6 percent shooting from the field and 31.6 percent from beyond the arc.
You can always count on Danny Green to keep it real. https://t.co/eYMrhIyOJi
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 3, 2020
In the postseason, Kuzma’s stats dipped even further. He averaged 10 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game on 43.0 percent shooting from the field and 31.3 percentfrom beyond the arc.
Big picture, since his rookie season Kuzma’s true shooting percentage, player efficiency rating and box plus/minus have all declined dramatically. He is arguably a worse player for LA’s system now than he was at any time prior.
With all that in mind, do the Lakers actually want to extend Kuzma? According to general manager Rob Pelinka, the answer is yes.
Gordon Hayward kept it real. https://t.co/WXSIcCxkTt
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 2, 2020
“Since we’ve drafted him, he’s been terrific,” Pelinka said recently.
“We’ve all seen his growth. The way the rules work, he has next season under contract with the Lakers and he’s extension-eligible this offseason. He has great representation that when the team is right, we’ll sit down and speak with him.
“We’re proud of drafting Kuz, we’re incredibly proud of his growth as a player. I think he showed in the bubble his ability to play at the wing and 4, so some 3 and 4.
Colby Covington issued a direct warning to LeBron. https://t.co/JcgkT2ELjN
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 1, 2020
“When you lose a defender and wing player like Danny Green, I think Kyle, we’re going to count on him to step in and play some of that wing role as well. He has the versatility to do it. He’s been a great player for us and I expect he will continue to grow next season.”
If a deal doesn’t come to fruition, a potential trade remains an option. The Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder were all said to have varying degrees of interest in picking him up, so that remains a possibility.
Kuzma will be an interesting player to keep an eye on going forward. One way or another, his career will be drastically impacted by what occurs over the next few months.