Kyle Kuzma says there’s always going to be ‘drama’ playing with the Lakers and LeBron James

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Former Los Angeles Lakers and current Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma explained that there will always be “drama” when playing for the Lakers and with LeBron James.

Kuzma, who played the first four seasons of his NBA career with the Lakers, won a title with James during the 2019-20 season in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble. He discussed some of the added pressure and expectations when you play in a big market with one of the league’s greatest players.

“When you’re playing in a big market, you’re playing in L.A., you’re always going to have a lot of drama,” Kuzma said.

The former Lakers forward didn’t stop there when explaining what comes with playing in a market like Los Angeles with James.

“You’re playing with one of the all-time greats as LeBron, it’s gonna add even more drama,” Kuzma said. “You have to fight through it. You have to be strong-minded.”

Kuzma explained as a role player who played alongside James, he had to be ready for “that moment” and sometimes it can be tough with all of the outside noise.

James certainly carries a ton of attention wherever he goes, and rightfully so, as he’s an 18-time All-Star, four-time NBA champion and arguably the greatest player in NBA history.

The Lakers have dealt with a lot of issues in the past few seasons, failing to win a playoff series since the team won the title in the 2019-20 season.

A lot has changed on the roster, including the team trading Kuzma in a package to the Wizards in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The Westbrook fit hasn’t exactly worked in Los Angeles, although the former MVP has thrived since taking a bench role in the 2022-23 season.

So far this season, the Lakers are just 3-10 and sit in the No. 14 spot in the Western Conference. They have dealt with a ton of roster turnover from last season’s team, with newcomers such as Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr., Matt Ryan and others stepping into major roles.

Not only that, but the Lakers have played their last two games without James as he deals with an injury.

Players clearly know there is a pressure when playing in Los Angeles, especially for the storied Lakers franchise, and Kuzma certainly had his ups and downs when he was a Laker

Now with Washington, Kuzma is having a solid 2022-23 season, averaging 18.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.