Kyle Kuzma is here to stay. After weeks of negotiations, the Los Angeles Lakers announced on Sunday that Kuzma had signed a contract extension with the team. While the Lakers didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, per team policy, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had previously reported that Kuzma signed a three-year, $40 million contract that includes a player option in the third year.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka released a statement on behalf of the team on Sunday.
“It is especially gratifying for our Lakers franchise to draft, develop and now sign one of our own to a contract extension,” Pelinka said in a press release. “Kyle has shown tremendous growth over the last three years, and played a crucial role on last season’s championship team. Kyle has been a terrific member of the Lakers community and we are all very excited about his continued future with us.”
Peinka wasn’t the only one that celebrated Kuzma’s contract extension publicly. A few of his teammates congratulated him on social media on Sunday.
Kuzzzzzzzzzzzz @kuz https://t.co/n8HvULJ4pL— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) December 20, 2020
KUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZ!!! Congrats bro!!! Next dinner on you for sure! Vino chronicles @kylekuzma https://t.co/anaseyjXIl— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 20, 2020
Now that Kuzma doesn’t have to worry about securing another contract until at least 2023, Anthony Davis thinks Kuzma can redirect his focus to growing as a player and, most importantly, figuring out his role with the Lakers.
“It’s good for him,” Davis said. “You don’t have that contract anxiety for the whole year. Now that it’s out of the way, he can go out there and play, which he was doing anyway. He was having a great preseason, but he even played great for us in the bubble and all of last year. He’s locked in and he made a great jump on both ends of the floor.
“We’re excited to have him here, I know he’s excited to be here and he’s a champion. He deserves it and I’m glad that the Lakers were able to work something out with him to allow him put it all out there and not worry about the contract for the rest of the season.”
Kuzma may not be the fan favorite he once was after his underwhelming junior campaign, but his teammates and the Lakers as a whole clearly see him as a valuable piece to the team, and for the first two seasons it wasn’t hard to see why. Hopefully he can show the fans that he’s a worthy investment with a bounce-back season.
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