The Los Angeles Lakers and Kyle Kuzma have until December 21st to come to terms on a new extension. The fourth-year player will become a restricted free agent next offseason if an extension is not signed by the deadline.
At this point, it doesn’t seem too likely that the two sides will reach an agreement. Reporting on the subject has been sparse, but according to Kyle Goon of the OC Register, Kuzma and the Lakers have “tabled” those discussions since a meeting early this month between the forward and his representatives and Lakers vice president Rob Pelinka.
According to Goon, Kuzma left the meeting with the feeling that he would have to “scrap for on-court opportunities” which isn’t too surprising given the depth of the current roster.
Kuzma has spoken to the media about his contract status but with vague answers such as “we’ll see” rather than any true sign of optimism. Tabling the discussions does not necessarily mean that an agreement can’t happen within the next few days but the time crunch and general sense of how Kuzma is talking about the subject doesn’t make it seem too likely.
It’s difficult to set Kuzma’s contract value. He’s probably a replaceable player for the Lakers but he’s also one of the few with a ceiling higher than the level he is currently at. Kuzma’s preseason display so far has been an indication of just that.
It’s likely that the Lakers are trying to keep Kuz on a fairly cheap deal. It’s also likely that Kuzma wants to bet on himself this year and try to get a nice payday next offseason even with the limitations of restricted free agency.
Fortunately, it seems like Kuzma has the right approach to all this which is to put his head down and prove his worth on the court. If he does that, both sides can profit off of his performance.