Heading into the current NBA season, the hope was that Kyle Kuzma would develop into a great third option for the Los Angeles Lakers. What ended up happening is that he underwhelmed for most of the season and was the subject of many trade rumors at the deadline. He’s still under contract and won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2022. However, there’s been some chatter surrounding what the Lakers might do with his contract.
The team isn’t about to sign him to a long term deal until they see if he can turn things around. On Wednesday, he was asked by the media about a potential new contract and he had a blunt response.
“I mean, I’m going to get paid regardless, so I don’t really care,” Kuzma said, per Ryan Ward of Clutch Points. “It’s going to happen one day, so I don’t think about that.”
No matter how the rest of this season and next season goes, somebody is going to give Kuzma money. That said, if he starts playing like he did his first two years in the league, he could make a lot more. If he continues to struggle, he’s probably not in for a huge payday.
Jared Dudley How Kuzma Can Get Paid
It is clear that Kuzma has plenty of talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. However, Jared Dudley doesn’t think scoring a lot of points will get Kuzma the big money as a role player.
“I always tell Kuz about the money,” Dudley said, per David Aldridge of The Athletic. “Players want to get paid. I told him, listen. I’ve been with Book (Devin Booker), Bradley Beal, John Wall, D’Angelo (Russell), and I’m telling you this: your points per game, nothing, that doesn’t even matter (in how) you get paid.”
Dudley believes that the best way for Kuzma to get paid is being able to fit in with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Those two guys are going to be the Lakers’ leaders for years to come so how players fit with them will be very important.
Follow the Heavy on Lakers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dudley Explains How Kuzma Is Improving
Kuzma has had months off to try and work out any kinks and Dudley has noticed major improvements while getting honest about where he’s struggled this season.
“What can you do defensively where you can force coach to put AD at the five, and you’re at the four because you can hold your own defensively against the starting fours? Catch and shoot. He wanted to playmake earlier this year. He was turning the ball over too much. That’s been his biggest improvement I’ve seen in practice.”
If Kuzma can play like the third option everybody was expecting him to be, the Lakers become much more dangerous. Dudley thinks he’s got all the talent and could end up getting a lot of money when his contract is up.
“I’ve seen Otto Porter get a max contract (averaging) 13 points a game. And he’s better than him. Kuz is more talented than Otto Porter. He’s more athletic, there’s more stuff he can do with it. But Otto Porter stars in his role.”