Kyle Kuzma spent his third year in the NBA struggling to get adjusted to a complementary role on a championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers roster. After spending his first two years as a primary scorer, he had to take a back seat to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It wasn’t until closer to the postseason when Kuzma figured out his role in L.A., shoring up his defense and rebounding and becoming a true hustle player. However, now entering a fourth year, it will soon be time for the Lakers to make a decision on Kuzma’s future with the team.
Given that Kuzma may be in line for a pay increase, L.A. has reportedly attempted to gauge his value on the trade market, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported on the “Sedano and LZ Show”:
“I know that there have been trade conversations with Kuzma, just gauging the market for him. I think the Lakers would be open to signing him to an extension, I think he would be open to signing an extension here. The question is how big, and for how long, and also what is his role? I think last year there was this sense that Kuz was sort of biding his time. Like he was playing a role and he was doing it because he was on a championship team and this is great, but he sort of wants to flap his wings a little bit. I think because of that there’s this feeling like, ‘Is this a match for him long term? Does he want to get paid substantially?’
“I personally have not heard any trade conversations that are exciting at all with him. I don’t think his value is as high as anybody would assume it is based off of his talent. I don’t think his value on the trade market matches his talent at all. One, because he was playing in a complementary role, i.e. not starting last year. Two, he’s due for a big pay day and you have to decide if you want to give him that, and invest in him that way. And three, you could just wait for him to hit free agency. You could just wait after this year, where we have a little more knowledge about where things stand. The Lakers don’t have to do anything. They don’t have to give him this extension. They could just let him play it out.”
For the reasons described, trading Kuzma might mean involving him in a much larger package. Otherwise, his value in a one-for-one trade is likely not high at all.
Of course, the Lakers have since reached a reported agreement to trade Danny Green and the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schroder.
Kuzma reportedly hoping for ‘sizable’ contract extension
While Kuzma’s value is likely still to be determined — and is largely based on his performance in year 4 — there could be a resolution as he is eligible for a contract extension. If that is not finalized before the deadline, Kuzma would become a restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season.
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!