The Los Angeles Lakers have now added injury to the insult of losing at home to the Los Angeles Clippers.
On top of losing at Staples Center 113-105 to their intra-city rivals on Monday night, Kyle Kuzma hurt his ankle. The second-year forward exited midway through the fourth quarter after turning his ankle by the baseline on a cut to the basket.
Kyle Kuzma rolls his ankle and gets taken to the locker room. Prayers up pic.twitter.com/m3BcvzLd5i
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) March 5, 2019
X-rays on Kuzma’s ankle turned out negative. Still, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he does not expect Kuzma to play in the team’s next game, which is on Wednesday against the Nuggets.
Luke Walton says he would be surprised if Kyle Kuzma plays Wednesday against Denver.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 5, 2019
The Lakers were without Brandon Ingram on Monday due to a shoulder injury. Lonzo Ball remains out due to his ankle. And now Kuzma may miss some time with his ankle injury.
It keeps getting uglier for the Lakers, who were booed by their fans on Monday night.
Kyle Kuzma did not sugar-coat things when talking after the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest loss.
The Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns 118-109 on Saturday night to drop to 30-33 on the season. They continue to slip further and further away from a playoff spot with fewer games remaining to make up the ground. After the game, Kuzma spoke bluntly about the team and did not give an optimistic outlook.
Kyle Kuzma was asked how the Lakers turn this around. “I’m honestly not even sure. Obviously there’s something wrong with this team. It’s up to us to try to fix it.”
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) March 3, 2019
“I’m honestly not even sure,” he said when asked how they turn things around. “Obviously there’s something wrong with this team. It’s up to us to try to fix it.”
LeBron James previously said he was going into playoff activation mode, but that didn’t work as the team has lost four of five, including road games to the Pelicans and Grizzlies in addition to the Suns. Lonzo Ball still isn’t back from his ankle injury. Things just don’t look good for the Lakers, like Kuzma says.
Kyle Kuzma took home MVP honors in Friday night’s Rising Stars game during NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, and that’s no coincidence. The financial incentive attached to the win was a driving force behind his effort.
Kuzma scored 35 points in Team USA’s 161-144 win over Team World, played by first and second-year players in the league. He said after the game that he wanted the $25,000 bonus that goes to players on the winning team.
Kuzma wanted the $25,000 MVP bonus so he broke the huddle with Bonus 1-2-3 pic.twitter.com/6ryfzqDoUW
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 16, 2019
Kyle Kuzma said after the game that he was out to lead Team USA to win this game to get the $25,000 bonus that goes to the winning team.
Was he being serious?
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 16, 2019
Kuzma, further, on going after the winner's check: "I think it was the second huddle, I broke it, '1-2-3-BONUS!' So there you go."
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 16, 2019
You may be thinking to yourself, Kuzma plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, what does he care about $25K? Well, he was just the No. 27 overall pick in 2017 and did not receive a huge contract. He made $1.423 million last season, and he’s making $1.689 million this season. For someone like him, every bit makes a difference. Plus, as he already has made clear, he likes performing on big stages.
Kyle Kuzma explained in a very simple comment why players often want to play in big markets rather than small markets, and it all has to do with relevancy.
Kuzma was on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Friday and was asked about the media’s coverage of his Los Angeles Lakers. He says he loves all the attention.
“Obviously the national media loves the Lakers. Everybody talks about it, and when you add LeBron James to the mix — one of the greatest players — you’re going to have even more,” Kuzma said. “For me, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want people to talk about me, good or bad. Because if you’re not, you’re not doing something right. I’d rather be talked about bad in LA than play in Orlando and not get talked about.”
"I'd rather be talked about bad in L.A. than play in Orlando and not get talked about, so."
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) February 15, 2019
Players want to be part of the conversation, they want to be thought of and not forgotten, which is a challenge many teams face. That’s part of the reason why Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans, especially if he can be traded to the Lakers. This comment is also something the Pelicans need to consider when weighing a potential trade with the Lakers. If they believe Kuzma wouldn’t be happy playing for them — and they know Lonzo Ball wouldn’t either — then they wouldn’t have much reason to deal Davis there.
After LeBron James signed with his team earlier this summer, Kyle Kuzma can now add another W to the books.
Famous Los Angeles-area tattoo artist Herchell Carrasco took to Instagram on Saturday to show off some new work that he did on the Los Angeles Lakers forward. Kuzma got a bottle that read “Kuz’s Secret Stuff” inked onto his right thigh. The tattoo is an obvious and iconic reference to “Michael’s Secret Stuff” from “Space Jam.” Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll shared the image:
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 8, 2018
The 23-year-old Kuzma averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the Lakers as a rookie last season, so the hope will be that his bottle of secret stuff leads him to a second-year leap as he plays alongside James.
Kuzma definitely deserves props for such an epic tat (especially with the attention to detail in including Bugs Bunny’s hand). But this may not even be the best homage to “Space Jam” that we have seen in sports so far this year.
Despite the addition of LeBron James and Co. this offseason, few have the Los Angeles Lakers as legitimate threats in the Western Conference next season. Kyle Kuzma, on the other hand, is of a different opinion.
In an interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk on Tuesday, the Lakers forward said that he has been working out with James this offseason and added that he thinks the team is being underestimated.
“We are both definitely excited about the roster and the pieces that we have,” said Kuzma. “And we think that a lot of people are underestimating us. It is definitely going to be fun playing with all these new guys.
“I don’t know why people kind of just rule us out because we are young,” the 23-year-old continued. “We are hungry. We are competitive. Anybody that watched us play last year, we were in a lot of games. Having one of the greatest players of all time is going to raise what we do, raise our level of focus and the team to a higher level. I don’t really see why [there is a need to be] so patient.”
Kuzma, who averaged 16.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 threes per game as a rookie last season, figures to be a core complement to James on the Lakers’ roster in 2018-19. That roster will also include an intriguing blend of other youngsters such as Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram as well as wily, playoff-tested veterans like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson.
James himself also seems to believe that they can outperform expectations, so Kuzma’s confidence here is definitely far from just youthful exuberance.
Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have some star power back on the team, one of their players is trying to sway a fan to switch allegiances.
“Clipper Darrell,” a well-known Clippers superfan, made some noise when he joked online that LeBron James had called him and asked him to become a Lakers fan.
— Clipper Darrell (@clipperdarrell) July 4, 2018
While that was just a joke, emerging Laker Kyle Kuzma said Darrell should make a change and become “Laker Darrell.” Clipper Darrell said no way.
Yo @Kuz NEVER!!! I Bleed Live & Drive Red White & Blue! How can I LEAVE my team I loved for 25 seasons!!! I have a New Segment on my Radio Show @Fan_Truth on @Dash_Radio called Loyal to the Soil this Saturday from 11am-1pm Where Fans Should Respect Fans of Other Teams!!! #LETSGO https://t.co/w4Qoxh5rkE
— Clipper Darrell (@clipperdarrell) July 6, 2018
After many years of being the superior team in LA, the Clippers look like they’re going to return to taking a back seat to the Lakers in terms of performance. Don’t expect Clipper Darrell to jump ship after so many years of supporting the team.
H/T Big Daddy