Selected at No. 27, Kuzma has quickly made a name for himself around the league and especially in the Lakers organization.
Kuzma is currently a ‘sneaker free agent’ which means he is coming off a two-year deal with Nike and is free to sign with any shoe brand as a part of the next stage of his career. As Kuzma starts his quest to become the team’s third All-Star behind Davis and LeBron James, he’ll need to figure out what shoes he’ll be wearing next.
Kuzma is obviously still being pursued by Nike, but has also received interest from Jordan Brand and Puma, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“This summer, Kuzma is also a shoe-deal free agent and has received strong interest from endorsement companies, including Nike, Jordan Brand and Puma, sources said. Kuzma’s business manager, Vin Sparacio, has held ongoing discussions with interested companies.”
And while Kuzma will no doubt give the other brands pursuing him a fair shake, he’s always been partial to Nike. In fact, he himself will say that he was a ‘Nike guy’ growing up and that signing with them in the first place was a ‘no-brainer,’ according to Nick DePaula of ESPN:
“It’s been great,” Kuzma said. “I’ve always been a Nike guy growing up. As a sneakerhead, you always have a special place in your heart for the brand with all of the different kinds of shoes they’ve done. To build that brand together was a no-brainer.”
This has been a huge summer for Kuzma as to start, being the only member of the young core not traded in the Davis deal led to massive added pressure for what he needs to be for the Lakers during the 2019-20 NBA season. Then, he found himself with a legitimate shot to make the Team USA roster for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Now, he’ll have a shoe deal to think about prior to training camp beginning at the end of September.
No matter what Kuzma decides on the matter, it seems he’ll be ready to go for this upcoming season. He’ll need to be as his role could be anywhere from bench scorer to the third All-Star player and that could be determined as early as the first couple weeks of the season.