Los Angeles Lakers general Rob Pelinka seems to be happy with the growth and improvement Kyle Kuzma has made since coming to the NBA and it appears that the Purple and Gold are interested in securing a long-term deal with the 25-year-old forward.
Kuzma, who was taken by the Lakers at No. 27 in the 2017 NBA draft, exceeded expectations immediately in his first season with the team and since then he has been a regular member of the Purple and Gold rotation. This past season, Kuzma averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds off the bench as he was pivotal in the Lakers' run to winning a record-tying 17th NBA Championship.
“In terms of Kuz, since we drafted him, he's been terrific. We've all seen his growth. As you guys know, the way the rules work, he has next season under contract with the Lakers and he's extension eligible this offseason.
He has great representation, and when the time is right we'll sit down and speak with them. We're proud of drafting Kuz, we're incredibly proud of his growth as a player. I think he showed in the bubble his ability to play at the wing and at the 4.
Some 3 and some 4. When you lose a defender and a wing player like Danny Green, I think Kyle, we're going to count on him to step in and play some of that wing role as well, but he has the versatility to do it. He's been a great player for us.
I expect that he'll continue to grow next season," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said, per Harrison Faigen.
Kuzma given recognition by LeBron James
Prior to the playoffs, Lakers superstar James acknowledged that the Purple and Gold would need Kuzma to step up and help them win the NBA Championship.
A month and a half later, the Lakers won the NBA title after beating the Miami Heat 4-2 in the NBA Finals. "In order for us to win a championship, he has to be our third-best player," James said at the time of Kuzma, as quoted on ESPN.
"And if I'm struggling or AD's struggling, he has to be our second-best player on any given night. It's just, we can't win a championship if Kuz doesn't play well." It remains to be seen if Kuzma and the Lakers will reach a new deal before the new season kicks off.