On Sunday, Kyle Kuzma signed a three-year, $40 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. In the little time that has passed since then, Kuzma’s seen several of his peers sign bigger contracts than the one he signed with the Lakers — players that didn’t play a pivotal role on a championship-winning team last season, or average nearly 20 points per game in their sophomore seasons.
But for Kuzma, it wasn’t about the money; it was about being in a good situation, and he felt the Lakers were the right situation for him at this point of his career.
“I’m still so young in the game of basketball where I’ll have opportunities for that,” Kuzma said. “It’s all about the situation, and we’ve got a great situation.”
The feeling is mutual for the Lakers — most notably from his head coach, Frank Vogel, who spoke glowingly about Kuzma after practice on Monday.
“I personally couldn’t be more excited that we got Kuz on a contract extension and that he’ll be with us for years to come,” Vogel said. “I just love what the young man represents. He’s one of our hardest workers, he’s a team-first guy, he sacrificed in many ways to help us win a championship and is willing to do the same again. He’s the kind of player that we want here with the LA Lakers.
“He’s versatile offensively, is a two-way player that impacts the game on both ends and has that desire to win at a high level. He was a big part of last year’s championship and he’s a huge part of what we hope to do this year as well.”
Kuzma still doesn’t know exactly what his role with the Lakers will be this year because of how much the roster changed during the offseason, or what it will look like in the following seasons, but he’s looking forward to continue growing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis — both on and off the court — for at least the next two seasons.
“I’ve got a great situation, having a 2+1 player option and just being able to align myself with those guys and also just continue to learn and develop as a player and a human,” Kuzma said. “To have an opportunity to be in a championship window, to continue to win championship, until my deal is up, when I’m into my prime. It’s a win-win.”