The Los Angeles Lakers and forward Kyle Kuzma have agreed on a three-year, $40 million extension. Lakers fans have been calling for Kuzma to be trade all offseason, and if that’s the Lakers’ plan, this extension sure helps.
Player option on a non-max rookie extension is a first in league, a creative wrinkle that allows Kuzma into unrestricted free agency in his prime at 28. Smart move and great benefit for Kuzma should he out-perform this deal headed into summer of 2023.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2020
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted, Kuzma will be under contract headed towards the prime of his career. Lakers fans want him gone, so any deal that’s team friendly, like this one, bodes well on the trade market.
Last year, the Lakers had to overpay Danny Green in case Kyle Kuzma became a headliner in a trade. Kuz made $3.5 million in 2020, so Danny Green’s $13 million salary was necessary to complete any deal. The Lakers don’t have that problem anymore. Kyle Kuzma now serves as the Lakers’ most prized trade piece and he also makes financially convenient for inquiring teams.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka just made a power move that will help the team complete a major trade down the road. When your favorite team can’t make the money work on a player you want in a trade, it’s because your GM doesn’t get an extension done like this.
Kyle Kuzma was a major let down this past season, but this deal has more to do with increasing his value. Any team wanting to take a chance on the six-foot-nine forward will now have the guarantee of financial control until 2024, barring a Kuzma opt out. No inquiring team should worry about that because if Kyle Kuzma believes it’s in his best interest to opt-out, then that means he’s outperforming his deal. Win-win all around.
Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers are in a rocky marriage. This contract looks hideous at its surface, but it looks like everyone will be happy by the end of this deal.