A couple of familiar faces visited the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, as they took on Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s Washington Wizards at Crypto.com Arena.
Both Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope left the Lakers last summer after four seasons with the team, landing in D.C. as part of the Russell Westbrook trade. The 2019-20 championship campaign would become the highlight of their time with the Purple and Gold.
The Lakers honored Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope with a tribute video on the day of their return to L.A. — starting with the moment the Purple and Gold selected the former with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and concluding with footage of the two players collecting their championship rings:
Lakers Family Forever
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 12, 2022
In the 2020 NBA playoffs, Kuzma turned into a valuable scoring option off the bench, averaging 10 points on 43% from the field over 21 games. Meanwhile, Caldwell-Pope played a crucial role in L.A.’s successful title pursuit that year, moving to the starting lineup and orchestrating the Lakers’ perimeter defense in Avery Bradley’s absence.
Also, he shot 37.8% from beyond the arc on more than two attempted threes per game, providing the Lakers’ offense with some essential outside shooting.
Frank Vogel discusses what Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope meant for Lakers
After the Friday game, head coach Frank Vogel said Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope will forever remain part of the Lakers’ family.
“Nothing but love for those guys. They’ll always be family, we won a championship together,” Vogel said after the 122-109 win.
“Just a really positive experience with both of those two individual players in my time here, the two years that we were together. I was very sorry to see them go, but that’s the nature of this business and if they’re not playing the Lakers, we wish them nothing but success.”
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