But Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma, a former Laker, took issue with that statement, tweeting that he has “heard that before.”
Heard that before 😭😭😭😭 https://t.co/pBgwCp0HAV
— kuz (@kylekuzma) May 23, 2023
Kuzma played his first four seasons with the Lakers, where he instantly blossomed into a good player. He averaged 16.1 points a game as a rookie and was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.
Just two seasons later, he was a part of a very strong crew led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis that rolled through the regular season and the playoffs to capture the NBA championship.
Although Kuzma came off the bench, he was a key member of the team, as he supplied instant offense whenever he would enter a ballgame.
But following L.A.’s first-round loss in the 2021 playoffs to the Phoenix Suns, he was sent packing to the nation’s capital in the controversial trade that brought Russell Westbrook to the Purple and Gold.
Many felt Westbrook was an albatross that was taking the Lakers down with him, but Pelinka managed to trade him in February and receive D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley in return.
Although Russell played very poorly against Denver, he did very well overall, especially during the regular season, and re-signing him this summer (he will become a free agent) may not exactly be a bad idea for the team.
Still, there are persistent rumors that it could go after Kyrie Irving yet again in a sign-and-trade deal that would have to involve Russell, although a recent report indicated the team is no longer interested in him.
The Lakers appear to have a very good team right now that may simply need some minor additions to claim their 18th world title next season.