Lakers ‘Open’ to Extending Veteran’s Contract, per Insider

kyle kuzma

Getty Kyle Kuzma celebrating with Lakers bench.

The Los Angeles Lakers might have to make a big decision regarding Kyle Kuzma this offseason. The 25-year-old forward was supposed to be a key part of the team this season but never truly blossomed into the third star the Lakers were hoping he’d be. He easily had the worst season of his three-year career and his future with the team has been questioned.

Despite the lackluster season, a recent report came out that Kuzma was expecting a “sizable” contract extension. He’s not a free agent until next season but if he repeats his production from last season, he’s not going to get a big payday. While the Lakers have dangled him on the trade market before, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne is now reporting that Los Angeles could still try to give him an extension.

“I know that there have been trade conversations with Kuzma, just gauging the market for him,” Shelburne said on Sedano & LZ, via Lakers Daily. “I (also) think the Lakers would be open to signing him to an extension, and 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, that 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 of ‘is this a match for him long term, does he want to get paid substantially?’”

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Trades for Kuzma Have Been Underwhelming

Based on how he played in his first two years, Kuzma seemed like a very valuable asset. His value apparently took a big dip last season.

“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,” Shelburne said. “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 payday 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.”

Fortunately, the Lakers don’t need to rush a decision. Even if they don’t extend him this offseason, he’ll be a restricted free agent next year. That will give Los Angeles a lot of leverage in contract negotiations.

Kyle Kuzma drops 36 points without LeBron or AD in Lakers vs. Thunder | 2019-20 NBA HighlightsOn a night where both LeBron James and Anthony Davis sit out, Los Angeles forward Kyle Kuzma steps up with 36 points and seven rebounds in the Lakers' 125-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. #NBA ✔ Subscribe to ESPN+: ✔ Get the ESPN App: ✔ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube:…2020-01-12T04:09:33Z

If Kuzma Stays, Lakers Need to Figure out Bigger Role for Him

If the Lakers do believe that Kuzma is an important piece for the future, they need to figure out how to better utilize his talents. That might mean they need to force him into the starting lineup. That’s very hard to do considering Anthony Davis will never want to move to center full time.

The Lakers could try and put Kuzma at small forward in the starting lineup. However, according to, they didn’t start him in that spot a single time last season. They clearly think he’s a power forward. Unfortunately for him, Davis has that spot locked down for years to come if he stays in Los Angeles. If the Lakers can’t get Kuzma into the starting lineup, they might be better off trading him.

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