Kyle Kuzma on getting traded to Wizards from Lakers: ‘As soon as I got traded, I was ready to be more’

Jonathan Sherman
4 Min Read

In the 2021 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to trade for former MVP Russell Westbrook. While the returns on that trade have been the subject of much debate since then, there is no question when it comes to whether or not forward Kyle Kuzma benefited from the deal.

Kuzma was sent as part of a package from the Lakers to the Washington Wizards, and he has since flourished in a larger role with the franchise. He’s having a career year so far in the 2022-23 campaign and expected to ultimately command a new contract of up to $25 million per year on a new deal next summer.

According to Kuzma himself, a lot of the growth that he has enjoyed can be credited to the trade that sent him from L.A. to Washington.

“As soon as I got traded, I was ready to be more,” Kuzma told The Athletic.

Kuzma’s tenure with the Lakers was filled with change and evolution. As a rookie in the 2017-18 season, Kuzma appeared to be a key member of the team’s young core that included players like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. He earned a role as a partial starter in his rookie season, and he then became a solidified part of the starting unit in his second season with the team.

The 27-year-old found a way to coexist with new superstar teammate LeBron James in his second season as well, and he averaged 18.7 points per game.

In the summer of 2019, however, everything changed when the Lakers decided to execute a massive deal for Anthony Davis.

The addition of Davis forced Kuzma to take on a supporting role with the Lakers. Though he never complained and always maintained a team-first mentality, his performances certainly suffered. Still, it all culminated in a 2020 championship for the Lakers in the NBA bubble.

During his time with the Lakers, Kuzma averaged 15.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Kuzma himself admitted that not having to play in the shadows of James and Davis has helped him take his game to the next level.

“Being in this situation helped out a lot,” he said. “Here, I’m not playing behind LeBron and A.D. Those guys are my position, my type of player, who I am, my style. So coming here, I don’t have that anymore. It’s been great because me, Brad (Bradley Beal) and K.P. (Kristaps Porzingis) don’t get in each other’s way. We all just flow out there. It’s been a pretty good jell for the first 20 games. We’re all averaging 20 a game without having any friction out there.”

It’s an exciting time for Kuzma and his fans.

Hopefully, all of the personal success he is enjoying at the moment will lead to a playoff berth for the Wizards later in the season.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.