It has been quite the week for news stories involving Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma. Now, it appears Kuzma’s preference would be to “move on” from the Lakers via trade this offseason, per Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. The forward is the Lakers’ most tradeable asset as Kuzma begins playing on a three-year, $39 million contract extension next season.
“I think Kuzma’s time, I think he’s ready to move on,” Pincus noted on The Lakerside Chats podcast. “I think winning cures all, and you’re willing to sacrifice but this year they didn’t win and now I think everybody’s a little grumpier. I think they’re exhausted mentally from what’s happened the last year or two. Deservedly so, this has been very hard on the real world where real consequences and real things happen.”
Kyle Kuzma Views Himself as a Player Like Jayson Tatum
Kuzma averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 36.1% from behind the arc last season. These are not superstar numbers but that has not dinged Kuzma’s confidence.
“I think that Kyle Kuzma perceives himself as someone like Jayson Tatum,” Pincus explained. “I think that’s how he views himself, and that’s great. You should view yourself as one of the best young players in the league. For where he was drafted, Kuzma’s been great. His contract is very favorable, it’s a nice contract, it’s actually very favorable to him. …I don’t think Rob [Pelinka] is someone who has a lot of loyalty, not criticizing him, but a lot of loyalty to anyone but LeBron and A.D. because those are the guys who are the championship core pieces and anybody else is there to compliment them.”
Kuzma Feuded With Schroder Last Season: Report
The news coincides with ESPN’s Jordan Schultz report that Kuzma and Dennis Schroder had an ongoing feud throughout last season. Both players face an uncertain future with the Lakers as Kuzma has been the subject of trade rumors, while Schroder enters free agency in the coming weeks.
“League sources say Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma feuded throughout the season, with things going further south throughout the Lakers’ first-round series loss to Phoenix,” Schultz tweeted. “Interesting note to consider heading into the draft and free agency.”
Kuzma Sounded off This Offseason About His Role With the Lakers
This sheds new light on Kuzma’s comments this offseason praising the Suns for their chemistry. Kuzma referenced the Lakers’ “unbelievable chemistry” during their championship run two seasons ago, essentially implying things were not the same in Los Angeles this season.
“I saw them [Suns] as a potential Finals team just off their chemistry,” Kuzma told Bleacher Report’s Tyler Conway. “Last year with us, we had unbelievable chemistry and everybody kind of jelled and knew their role and had fun doing it, had fun playing with each other. I noticed playing them, that same type of feel. Everybody was communicating, talking, having fun, smiling with each other. Usually, when you have a team connected like that, you win big.”
Kuzma also complained about having an inconsistent role with the Lakers last season citing it as part of the reason for his up-and-down play. If Kuzma remains with the Lakers, it will be interesting to see what his role with the team will be next season.
“I definitely can [be an All-Star],” Kuzma added. “I definitely believe that, too. 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.”