Once the celebration of the Los Angeles Lakers capturing the 2020 NBA championship dies down, the focus will have to turn to next season and how the team will try and improve its roster.
The franchise will have a number of decisions to make regarding their role players and one of the most closely watched will be how the team handles Kyle Kuzma. His third season certainly wasn’t Kuzma’s best as he struggled to adjust to a new role after the addition of Anthony Davis and also dealt with lingering injury problems.
While he did show signs of growth, particularly as a defender and playmaker, Kuzma was far from the third star that many thought he would be. The Lakers could go many different directions when it comes to Kuzma, as he is eligible for a contract extension this summer, but there is always the possibility of a trade as well.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there may be several teams interested in a Kuzma trade:
The 25-year-old also could bypass an extension and use next season to continue elevating his value prior to restricted free agency. And then there is the option of a trade suitor with several interested clubs.
While his third season was far from his best, Kuzma remains a 25-year-old forward who can score in bunches and has shown that he will put in the work to improve his game. As such, there are going to be many teams who believe they can the most out of him as he does still carry plenty of potential.
The question for the Lakers is what Kuzma could bring back in a deal. As the 27th overall pick in 2017, Kuzma carries a salary of just $3.5 million so he would have to be packaged with others in order to bring back anything of note.
A team chasing championships like the Lakers wouldn’t be dealing Kuzma away for draft picks and future considerations. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Avery Bradley all have player options for the 2020-21 season, as does Davis.
Davis’ return is all but a done deal. The Lakers won a championship thanks to their depth and versatility and this offseason they will have to figure out what to do with any number of players who helped accomplish that goal.
Rondo reportedly declining player option
Rondo was one of many Lakers veterans to sign a two-year contract with a player option for the second year, With the way he performed in the playoffs, Rondo showed he can still impact games in a major way on the biggest stage.
Thus, to no surprise, the expectation is he will decline the option on his contract and become a free agent. Rondo averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 assists in the playoffs, setting an NBA record for assists by a reserve despite missing the entire first round.
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