The Los Angeles Lakers will reportedly head into free agency two days after the 2020 NBA Draft, as free agents will be able to communicate with teams starting at 6 pm EST on November 20th. They will have players they may wish to retain, including Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, as well as a plethora of free agents from the other 29 teams that the Lakers may think will give them a shot at going back-to-back next year. It seems like Anthony Davis will sign a contract with the team once he opts out of his current contract, but there’s another player that may be looking for an extension ahead of the December 22nd start date. That player will be coming out of his rookie deal after this year, as Kyle Kuzma is reportedly wanting a hefty contract to take himself into the next stage of his career.
ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst said this in a recent episode of his podcast, “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective”. Here’s the direct quote about what he’s heard regarding Kyle Kuzma (h/t to Heavy.com for the transcribed quote):
“Then you got Kuzma, who is extension eligible, still has a year left on his contract but is extension eligible. And from what I understand, [he] is expecting a sizable deal, hoping for a sizable deal.”
It’ll be interesting to see what “sizable” is for Kyle Kuzma as his agent. With LeBron James’ current contract ($39M in the 2020-21 season) and the impending max contract that Anthony Davis will receive, the Lakers will have trouble improving on the margins due to the immense amount of their salary cap going to those two superstars. It’s, of course, well deserved and worth it for the Lakers to have those two paid the most that they can be paid, but that may leave Kuzma on the outside looking in due to his steady decline in play over his three-year career.
Still, he’s definitely one of the better players from the 2017 NBA Draft class, with Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum being the only two players to average more points so far in their careers up to this point. Kuzma has easily outperformed his draft position the most in the class, going from a 27th overall draft pick to a key rotation player on a championship team in three years.
We’ll see if the Lakers give him an extension before the season, or if they will let Kuzma test free agency in the 2021 offseason. They could also trade him before then to improve the roster for another championship campaign.