The Los Angeles Lakers finished their blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards this week. In return for Russell Westbrook and three future second-rounders, the Lakers sent out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson.
Kuzma, who was LA’s longest tenured player at one point, was instrumental in making the deal work. His approximately $3 million contract from the 2020-21 season becomes $13 million for the 2021-22 season.
After the trade was completed, Kuzma began reflecting on his time with Los Angeles.
In a recent tweet where he was asked about what he was looking forward to most with the Wizards, Kuzma took what some are interpreting as a subtle swipe at the LeBron James-run Lakers.
“Being myself,” he replied.
Being myself. https://t.co/WRPax4aTne
— kuz (@kylekuzma) August 8, 2021
This isn’t the first time Kuzma has suggested that the Lakers, with James and Anthony Davis at the helm, somewhat cramped his style.
“My biggest thing is I just want to play within a consistent role,” Kuzma told Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report. “If I have that ability, I’ll be able to showcase what I can really do. There were parts of this year—and even anywhere else in my career—when I’m in a consistent space, I’m out there handling the ball, making teammates better, scoring, shooting, defending, rebounding. I think if I’m in that space, I’ll be good.”
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
Ever since the Lakers were unceremoniously booted from the playoffs in the first round this past year there has been idle chat of beef between Kuzma and James. Examples cited include Kuzma’s commentary on his favorite teammate and Kuzma very publicly changing his pick for who the GOAT is after getting traded. Plus, the pair has had some fairly awkward public moments.
James and Kuzma’s relationship going forward will be interesting to watch. If they remain friendly, then obviously friction between them was overstated in the media. If they don’t, however – then we’ll know there was some truth to the speculation.