Kyle Kuzma, Lakers agree to three-year, $40 million contract extension
There had been buzz around the league that the Lakers were sizing up the trade market for Kyle Kuzma, to see what the young forward might bring them in a quest to repeat as champions.
Instead, the Lakers decided to keep Kuzma around — he has agreed to a three-year, $40 million contract extension with a player option on the final year. The story was broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and has been confirmed by the Lakers.
Player option on a non-max rookie extension is a first in league, a creative wrinkle that allows Kuzma into unrestricted free agency in his prime at 28. Smart move and great benefit for Kuzma should he out-perform this deal headed into summer of 2023.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2020
“It is especially gratifying for our Lakers franchise to draft, develop and now sign one of our own to a contract extension,” Laker GM Rob Pelinka said in a statement. “Kyle has shown tremendous growth over the last three years, and played a crucial role on last season’s championship team.”
This is a fair contract number for Kuzma. The only real surprise is that he took it (there had been rumors he was asking for a lot more). That is also a tradable contract should the Lakers ultimately go that direction (he is their most tradable asset).
However, they may want to keep him as a solid role player off the bench. Kuzma averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds a game last season, playing 25 minutes a night, primarily at the four. He doesn’t stretch the floor as a shooter, but his athleticism allows him to be a finisher in transition or get to the rim in the halfcourt. Kuzma does not lack for confidence. When he makes consistently good decisions, Kuzma is a plus for the Lakers.
For a few more years, “Kuuuuzzzz” will ring out in Staples Center… once fans are allowed back in the building.