Los Angeles Lakers SF Kyle Kuzma has agreed to a three-year, $40 million contract extension with the franchise, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Sunday. Kuzma has a player option for the 2023-24 season, per Woj. Kuzma was coming off his rookie deal and could have become a restricted free agent after this season. Instead, he’ll be sticking around in Los Angeles, continuing to try and prove himself to the world.
Kuzma was the lone young asset to stick around after the Lakers dealt for PF Anthony Davis. After that deal, L.A. was expected to try and develop Kuzma into a serviceable starter alongside LeBron James and AD. That hasn’t exactly happened, though Kuzma has provided a decent scoring presence off the bench for the Lake Show.
With AD in town in 2019-20, Kuzma averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 61 games, mostly off the bench. He wasn’t exactly a key component to the Lakers title run either. Kuzma again came off the bench and averaged 10 points per game over 21 playoff games en route to getting a ring. Kuzma is only 25 years old, so there’s room for improvement. He’s also shown that he doesn’t exactly shake off criticism very well and that’s clearly impacted his game.
Lucky for Kuzma, the Lakers brought in Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol this offseason. We’ve also seen the emergence of Talen Horton-Tucker during preseason for the Lakers. So this contract extension doesn’t really make much sense to me. Kuzma is still a valuable asset and he isn’t really getting overpaid. Still, you’re giving around $13 million per season to a garbage time All-Star. The only way Kuzma becomes relevant again is if the Lakers endure some injuries on the wing.
Yeah, sure Bobby, a win-win for the Lakers and Kuzma ... Sure, while he isn’t getting paid much, he’s also probably not going to do much while coasting to another championship. Kuzma is going to enter free agency, get overpaid by a bad team and complain because he isn’t in Los Angeles anymore, he’s stuck in Detroit or Oklahoma City.
A win-win for the LA Lakers and Kyle Kuzma on the three-year $40M rookie extension.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 20, 2020
Player option allows Kuzma to enter FA in 2023 at the age of 28. At the very minimum he’s guaranteed $40M.
LAL has a team friendly $13M cap hit over the next three seasons-starting in 2021/22.