In his exit interview Friday morning, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson officially ruled Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball out for the 2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The Lakers won the Las Vegas Summer League championship last year.
“From this season to next season, you’re going to see an improved Lonzo Ball and we’re not going to play him in the Summer League either,” Johnson said. “Kyle Kuzma will not play in the Summer League either. I know that’s a question that will come up so let me just tell you now.”
Magic said that he wants Ball and Kuzma to focus on “working on weights, working on their game” in the offseason and for that reason they will not be with the team in Vegas. Ball said on Thursday he would play if the team asked him to play, while Kuzma said he wasn’t sure whether or not he would play.
Both players left Las Vegas with hardware last summer, with Ball taking home the Summer League MVP and Kuzma taking home the Summer League championship game MVP. The Lakers will surely miss them in the quest for a back-to-back summer league title.
Magic did add that Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant will be representing the Lakers in Las Vegas this summer. Hart appeared in two games last year before being ruled out with a sprained ankle.
Bryant will also be making his second appearance in Las Vegas after averaging 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game last year. Bryant was an absolute monster in the G League with the South Bay Lakers this summer, so expect his numbers to improve drastically.
The 2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas will start on July 6. For the first time since its establishment, all 30 teams are expected to participate.
You can follow Christian Rivas on Twitter at @RadRivas.