The Los Angeles Lakers are sending Kyle Kuzma to the Washington Wizards, where he hopes more opportunities await so he can take what he feels is the next step for his career.
Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were sent to Washington in a deal to bring former MVP Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles on Thursday. Kuzma has been involved in trade rumors basically since arriving in KA but is now finally on the move from the only team he has known in his NBA career.
The 26-year-old forward penned a goodbye to the Lakers on Instagram following the news of the trade.
“Man oh man where do I begin? Lakeshow we’ve had a journey. I was 21 and just a young pup coming here and you guys opened up your arms openly and accepted me into the LA community! Coming into this league I told Robby, Jeanie and Magic that all I wanted to do here is help be a part of something special and help be a part one of those banners (now) 17 banners and dammit we did it! I wouldn’t change anything about my journey everything has been a lesson to me! I’ve learned the game of basketball from some of the best players to ever do it on earth while being in LA and now it’s time for me to get out there and really spread my wings and be who I say I am….LUV LA I’m a laker for life.”
Kyle Kuzma: ‘Laugh Now, Cry Later’
Kuzma expressed this offseason that he wasn’t satisfied with his role with the Lakers. He told Bleacher Report that with a more consistent role he could see himself having All-Star potential, averaging 25 points per night.
“I definitely can. I definitely believe that, too,” Kuzma said when asked if he could become an All-Star. “I don’t really care what nobody thinks or says. I know myself, and I know my ability. It’s hard to be consistent in an inconsistent role. I’m excited for a more consistent space next year.”
Kuzma started 32 of 68 games last season due to the Lakers being banged up. He averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, leading the Lakers in made 3-pointers. Kuzma has shown some strong potential, especially earlier in his career where he played a larger role on a young — and not very good — Lakers team. During the 2018-19 season he averaged 18.7 points per game while shooting a career-high 45.6% from the field.
After the trade, Kuzma reposted a message that read: “Don’t let casuals and meme boys tell you Kyle Kuzma’s not nice like that. Situations are everything in this league. He went from a key young piece with the Lakers core, putting up 19 and 5 a game to sacrificing his entire role and rhythm to win a chip with greats. He’ll shine.”
Kuzma responded: “Laugh now cry later.”
We’ll see if Laker fans ultimately end up missing Kuzma after the trade, but a change of scenery could be exactly what he needed.
Kuzma also sent a message to his new All-Star teammate, Bradley Beal on Instagram.
“Beal what’s the deal #captialboyz,” Kuzma wrote as the caption.
Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell Could be on Move Again
While Kuzma and Harrell are embracing their new team, there’s a chance they get moved again following the trade. Washington views the duo as pieces to acquire Spencer Dinwiddie from Brooklyn in a sign-and-trade deal, per Wizards insider Quinton Mayo.
Dinwiddie is a borderline All-Star player and has expressed interest in playing alongside Bradley Beal. He’s coming off a torn ACL that saw him miss nearly all of last season, but averaged 20.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game during the 2019-20 campaign.