While the Los Angeles Lakers have brought in a number of new players this offseason, it also saw them send out some long-term members of the team. Perhaps most notably was forward Kyle Kuzma, who was drafted by the team in 2017 and was the last of the ‘Young Lakers’ remaining with the franchise.
Kuzma, of course, was traded away this summer to the Washington Wizards in the deal that landed the Lakers Russell Westbrook, although he thought he was headed elsewhere before that deal came to fruition. Regardless, Kuzma now finds himself with the Wizards and now that his time with the Lakers is done, he has nothing but great things to say about the organization.
Kuzma appeared on the No Chill Podcast with Gilbert Arenas and said there remains nothing but love towards LeBron James and the Lakers as there is no bitterness at all:
“It’s all love. It’s all love for sure. I think even a couple of days after I got traded, we were hanging out, chilling, whatever. I think even the organization, I came in as a Laker, this is all I know. It was family from the jump. And even leaving, it was still family. Getting texts or calls from Jeanie or Rob or equipment managers or people that just work the front gate. Everyone is like, ‘Hope you have a successful career. You’re doing this, you’re doing that.” No bitterness, no nothing for sure.”
The Lakers have always maintained that they are a family and what Kuzma is talking about shows just how real that is. Even though he is no longer with the team, everyone wants nothing more than for him to be successful in his career even outside of the Purple and Gold.
For Kuzma himself, the Lakers are the team that drafted him and took a chance when many weren’t sure if he would be a first-round pick. He was also able to win an NBA Championship with the franchise so it’s always hard to have hard feelings when you’ve experienced that type of success.
Ultimately, the NBA is a business and Kuzma understands that and is looking forward to what the future holds for him with his new team. But through the ups and downs that came with him as a member of the Lakers, there will always be love on both sides.
Westbrook believed he would play for Lakers at some point
Of course the man Kuzma was dealt for, Russell Westbrook is excited to put on the Purple and Gold of his hometown team. Something he always believed he would do eventually.
“At some point,” Westbrook said during his introductory press conference. “Obviously being from L.A., you always wish that you can play for your home team and being able to do that. But that’s definitely something that always kind of circled around in my mind and maybe one day. But I always would come back and be like that probably won’t happen, but I just kind of waited to see if that would ever happen but now we’re here and I’m gonna take full advantage of it.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!