Heading into an offseason in which the Los Angeles Lakers were coming off the franchise’s 17th championship, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said the team would be mindful of maintaining some continuity without becoming complacent.
The Lakers then went out and traded Danny Green and a draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schroder, followed by signing Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol. Added to that was re-signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris.
Then, surprisingly, came an extension with LeBron James. And of course Anthony Davis was also re-signed, though in a bit of a shock he bypassed a shorter deal that would have put him in position for a spike in future earnings in favor of a five-year contract.
That left the only possible order of business for the Lakers as signing Kyle Kuzma to a contract extension. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kuzma and the Lakers agreed to a three-year, $40 million deal that includes an opt out:
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has agreed to a three-year, $40M contract extension, including a player option on 2023-2024 season, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2020
Kuzma and the Lakers faced a December 21 deadline to come to terms. Had they failed to do so, the young forward was poised to become a restricted free agent in the summer. Kuzma will now have that option, if he chooses, as a 28 year old following the 2023-24 season.
Although it was recently reported talks between the Lakers and Kuzma had fallen off, it appeared likely the two sides would eventually find common ground. The Lakers’ financial outlook became a bit more restricted in the wake of this past offseason, and Giannis Antetokounmpo was removed from the equation with his signing a max contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kuzma uncertain of role
Now that the financial aspect has been resolved, Kuzma can put his entire focus into helping the Lakers defend their title. His role has changed multiple times throughout his career and he admitted to not yet being certain what it would be this season.
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