There is no doubt that the Los Angeles Lakers were affected by the constant rumors floating around during the trade deadline. The young Lakers core of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart had to hear their names in the news every day as the franchise attempted to trade for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
Though the players did their best to block things out, and kept up appearances with media, it was clear with their play on the court that things weren’t right. If anyone would have the confidence to not be affected by trade rumors it would be Kuzma, but even the brash forward admits it was a tough period for himself and the team.
In an interview with Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated, Kuzma spoke about how difficult the trade deadline was for himself individually and the Lakers as a whole:
When Kuzma and I talk again, two days after the deadline, his usual enthusiasm is muted. “It was hard,” he says. “You can’t really escape these things. You can’t look at your phone without someone sending you a text. You can’t go on social media […] I felt like the whole team got very tense.” Communication was minimal, he says, including from James.
Kuzma also added that games were the toughest to deal with:
Games were the toughest. “Everyone’s screaming at you, and people forget we’re humans too, that everybody has emotions […] Fans think we’re just part of a circus, here just to entertain them. I get it, I go on social media and laugh too but sometimes people forget the people they’re laughing at are humans.”
The good news for the Lakers is that all of the rumors are in the past, at least for the time being. No one will be dealt this season and while there is always the possibility of something happening in the future, this team can only focus on the present.
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