While many of the Los Angeles Lakers role players are set to be free agents in the summer of 2021, the team shored up their future by signing LeBron James and Anthony Davis to long-term contract.
Their next major decision is what to do with Kyle Kuzma, who is eligible to be signed to a contract extension by a Dec. 21 deadline. Kuzma — in three years with the Lakers — is yet to find his exact place with the team.
In his rookie year, he appeared to be a potential young All-Star in the making. However, the additions of James and Davis forced Kuzma’s development and role to shift, and he’s since struggled to find his place with the team.
Although he’s shown enough flashes of greatness for the Lakers to begin extension talks heading into the final year of his rookie deal, those negotations have been put on hold for the time being, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
The status of those discussions? Tabled for now. Kuzma met with Vogel and General Manager Rob Pelinka at the beginning of the month to feel out his role for the season, a person with knowledge of the situation told SCNG, and to get a sense for his future with the organization. Kuzma came away from the meeting with a sense that he would have to scrap for on-court opportunities.
The Lakers have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, meaning it will be difficult for Kuzma to play a consistent role unless he truly steps his game up. As it stands, he’s at best the eighth man in the rotation, which is not ideal when you’re still trying to develop as a player.
This season will have to be Kuzma’s best in every facet if he hopes to remain with the Lakers and get the contract he wants. If things don’t work out in L.A., it’s likely he’ll have suitors around the league, but the odds of them being good offers with contending teams is low.
Kuzma unsure of role with L.A. in 2020-21 season
As the Lakers head into their championship defense, Kuzma remains unsure of how he will be able to contribute on a team with so many weapons.
“Just trying to figure out my role,” he said this week. “And one thing I could add Frank said in my exit meeting was being able to shoot off the move. For me, I’m just trying to hunt shots. Every time I get an open look I’m shooting confidently.”
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