The last couple of months have been very good for Kyle Kuzma. Not only did he win a championship, but he also got handed a big contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers. There was chatter it might happen this offseason but it appeared that negotiations would be tabled for now.
The Lakers ended up handing him a three-year extension worth $40 million and Kuzma planning on using all that money to help his family and his hometown.
“It’s good … being in a situation to have my family be set for life,” Kuzma said Monday. “To be from Flint, Michigan where it’s a very impoverished place, and now I can just do a little more good back home as well, so it feels good.”
Kuzma may be embracing Los Angeles these days but he still thinks about his hometown. There’s no doubt he can help a lot of people with his newfound wealth. While Kuzma is happy to get paid, he actually wasn’t stressing about closing a deal all that much.
“I wasn’t too bent to try to get something done unless it was the right situation. It’s not always about the money … it’s all about situation, and we got a great situation.”
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Kuzma’s Contract Aligns With LeBron James & Anthony Davis
Kuzma was wise to sign the deal that he did. He’ll be with the Lakers for at least three more seasons and his player option in four years gives him flexibility. It also aligns him with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“I got a great situation having a two plus one player option and just being able to align myself with those guys, and also just continue to learn and develop as a player and a human, and to be in an opportunity to be in a championship window … it’s a win-win,” Kuzma said.
When Kuzma can hit free agency in 2023, he’ll only be 28. If he can play at a high level over these next three seasons, he’ll be a hot commodity and could get a much bigger deal. Having a couple more championships on his resume would also help.
Frank Vogel Praises Kuzma
There’s been so much talk about the Lakers trading Kuzma over the last year but it’s clear the team is would prefer to keep him around. He hasn’t always been a consistent performer but head coach Frank Vogel loves his work ethic and selflessness.
“He’s one of our hardest workers,” Vogel said Monday. “He’s a team-first guy. … He’s a big part of last year’s championship and a huge part of what we want to do this year as well.”
The skill is there for Kuzma, he just had a hard time putting things together last year. The Lakers believe in him and LeBron thinks he’s in for a big year. It’s going to be hard for a role player to score a lot of points with so many strong scorers on the roster. However, if Kuzma can keep improving on defense and become more efficient on offense, he’ll be well worth the contract the Lakers gave him.