Kyle Kuzma has only been teammates with Anthony Davis for a little over a month, but he is already getting some good digs in.
Addressing reporters on Tuesday at Team USA camp in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Lakers forward clowned his new frontcourt mate for skipping out.
“It’s lonely,” said Kuzma of being the only Laker to participate, per Kyle Goon of Southern California News Group. “My boy AD was supposed to come, but he had other plans.”
Davis, who was traded to the Lakers earlier this summer, was one of countless superstar withdrawals from USA Basketball, including LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, and Kevin Love. Kuzma, meanwhile, is getting his first taste of international basketball experience at 24 years old.
The 6-foot-9 forward being the Lakers’ sole representative on Team USA does seem a bit odd, and it is not the only thing about the team that Kuzma is (albeit jokingly) upset about.
New murals have been popping up all around Los Angeles amid one of the most insane NBA offseasons in the sport’s history, and even Kyle Kuzma has been included in the artwork. He just wishes he looked a little more ripped.
The latest Lakers-themed mural that was painted in LA features Kuzma, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While the 23-year-old seems flattered to be considered part of a “big three” with his All-NBA teammates, he joked on Twitter that the mural has him “looking fluffy.”
Y’all got me out here looking flufffy. But this is dope tho https://t.co/uknrQDBguT
— kuz (@kylekuzma) July 21, 2019
For what it’s worth, the photo Kuzma shared was not of the finished product. He may have felt a bit differently when he saw the shading and detail that was added:
— Rey_ELBarbon (@Rey_ElBarbon) July 22, 2019
Either way, Kuzma has to be feeling great about his current situation. The former No. 27 overall pick probably could not have envisioned that he would be featured on a mural alongside LeBron and Davis entering his third NBA season, and he already seems to be trying to step up and play the role of leader. You know what would be a lot worse than looking “fluffy” on a mural? Not being on a mural at all.
Kyle Kuzma may only be 23 and have just two years of NBA experience, but that’s not stopping him from taking on a leadership role with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Danny Green, who agreed to a two-year, $30 million contract with the Lakers in free agency, spoke on his “Inside The Green Room” podcast Tuesday and praised Kuzma for the leadership he’s already shown.
“Kuz has taken kind actually kind of a leadership role for a young guy and putting us together. He put a little group chat together, make sure everyone knew whose number was who. He reached out to let everybody know where to be in the summer,” Green said.
"Kuz has been taking a leadership role for a young guy. He put a little group chat together and made sure everyone knew who's number is who. Bron was really good with the process and keeping me patient."
— ShowtimeForum (@ShowtimeForum) July 10, 2019
Green also credited LeBron James for helping him remain patient throughout the free agency process. Green was one of the players in limbo until Kawhi Leonard announced his decision.
The Lakers traded away most of their players during the offseason — first to New Orleans for Anthony Davis, and then to Washington to clear more salary cap space for a third max player. Kuzma was one of the few remaining players the Lakers kept, along with LeBron. That makes him a core player and likely explains why he took on that role. But in the days after Kawhi Leonard’s move to the Clippers was announced, the Lakers brought back several members from last season’s team, including Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, and Alex Caruso, so they will have some continuity despite having a new coach and mostly a new roster.
Things could not have gotten any more embarrassing for the New York Knicks than the result of this year’s free agency.
The Brooklyn Nets are landing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in free agency, making them officially the team in New York rather than the Knicks. The Knicks cleared all sorts of salary cap space to prepare for this summer, even trading away Kristaps Porzingis to make room for a second max contract slot. And they end up with nothing, while in a most embarrassing fashion, the newcomer in the town gets the two players they wanted.
Kyle Kuzma, who is on the Los Angeles Lakers, laughed at the Knicks’ misfortune via Twitter:
Knicks can’t catch a break lol
— kuz (@kylekuzma) June 30, 2019
It’s not really about the Knicks not catching breaks. This is their own undoing. They have an awful owner who constantly embarrasses himself publicly and makes the team look horrible. They’ve been mismanaged for years. Maybe this might be somewhat of a wake-up call for the franchise.
The Los Angeles Lakers are involved in trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, and some information about players they’re willing to include in a deal is being reported.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported on Wednesday that the Lakers are willing to include Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in deals, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Interestingly, Stein says it seems like the Lakers are trying to keep Kyle Kuzma out of trade talks.
My sense is that the Lakers, to this point, have tried to keep Kyle Kuzma out of the talks and the full package New Orleans would receive in an Anthony Davis deal obviously depends on what the third team provides
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 12, 2019
During the reported trade talks between the Lakers and Pelicans prior to the trade deadline earlier this season, the Lakers were said to have made nearly everyone on their roster available, including Kuzma. It’s unclear whether their mind has changed, Magic Johnson’s resignation, or any other factor is playing a role in this.
Kuzma and Ball are under team control for an extra year over Ingram, who was drafted the year before. Kuzma is also the cheapest of the three and a relative bargain at his salary. He is on schedule to earn about a third of what Ball will be earning on his rookie deal.
The big kicker that could affect a trade is the No. 4 pick. Stein believes if the Pelicans feel they can draft a potential All-Star with the pick, they would find a way to make a deal.
The Los Angeles Lakers were once again at the center of the sports media universe on Tuesday when an explosive story about Magic Johnson’s brief tenure as president of basketball operations was published, and at least one member of the team seems to think there has been a bit of sensationalism.
Kyle Kuzma’s name was one of the few not mentioned in Baxter Holmes’ piece, but the Lakers forward shared his thoughts anyway. Kuzma tweeted that the media is making the NBA out to be like “The Jerry Springer Show.”
Media making the league look like jerry springer y’all gotta chill lol
— kuz (@kylekuzma) May 29, 2019
We don’t know about Jerry Springer, but the drama that has gone on with the Lakers over the past several years would certainly make for a great reality TV show — even if only half of what has been reported is accurate. We’ve already had current and former employees say Johnson drove them to therapy with his leadership style and a general manager who told a baffling lie about Kobe Bryant, so there has been plenty of drama to keep people interested.
Until the Lakers start winning again, these types of stories are not going to go away. They thought signing LeBron James would take care of everything, but that was not the case in his first season in LA. If the results are similar next year, look out.
Whatever outrage factor ESPN’s “First Take” lost with the departure of Skip Bayless has been fulfilled by Max Kellerman lately.
Kellerman argued on “First Take” Thursday that James Harden does not deserve to be a first-team All-NBA selection, which he was named later in the day.
The opinion was so outrageous that Los Angeles Lakers youngster Kyle Kuzma said talk show hosts need to start being drug tested.
They have to start drug testing talk show ppl. https://t.co/qIiMOOjHKN
— kuz (@kylekuzma) May 23, 2019
We don’t disagree.
Kellerman is the same person who also recently said Larry Fitzgerald is not a Hall of Famer. Fitzgerald is second all-time in career receiving yards, sixth in career receiving touchdowns, and led the league twice in receptions and receiving touchdowns. The only way in which Fitzgerald is not a Hall of Famer is if your Hall of Fame includes only one receiver, and that’s Jerry Rice.
Similarly, Harden averaged over 36 points per game this season — the 7th most ever and the most by a player not named Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan. He was the biggest driving force in the Rockets’ success this season. Even if you want to say he didn’t deliver in the postseason, keep in mind that to this point, Houston still gave the Warriors the best challenge of any team in the playoffs. Holding his performance against them in the playoffs against him is being highly selective.
Oh, and we must also note that Kellerman had LeBron James as first-team All-NBA this season over Harden even though LeBron only played in 55 games, missed the playoffs, and helped divide his team. There was a good argument that James didn’t even deserve his third-team All-NBA nomination. Yet Kellerman wants to have him on the first team over Harden. Laughable.
Kuzma is right. Unfortunately some TV shows exist only to outrage. Mission accomplished on this one, Max.