Upon Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka taking control of the Los Angeles Lakers front office, they immediately began to move toward a plan that would put the team in position to sign two free agents to max contracts in 2018.
With that came rampant speculation not only pertaining to free agency but trade rumors as well. That was particularly true last season, though Kyle Kuzma doesn’t necessarily consider that to have been the case.
“Were there trade rumors last year with us?” Kuzma responded when asked if he’s found it easier to ignore speculation a second time. When reminded the Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., Kuzma responded, “Not the young guys (is who was included in rumors). Those guys are old.
“This is my first go-around with that type of stuff, but it’s always a good thing, trade rumors. That’s what everybody always says. It means you have value and it means you’re going to be in this league a long time because people want you.
“For us, it’s all about controlling what you can control. At the end of the day it’s a business, and you can’t control your destiny in this league. But you can control your work ethic and how great you want to be. You can be great anywhere.”
While the Lakers appeared primarily focus on Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson becoming free agents this summer, that’s shifted in the wake of Anthony Davis demanding a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers are among the teams expected to pursue Davis ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. The Pelicans reportedly would seek a package that features Lonzo Ball, Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round draft pick.
While being mentioned in trade speculation could be unnerving, particularly for a young player, Kuzma didn’t have much of a reaction to the developments with Davis. “I couldn’t care less, honestly,” he said.
“Control what you can control. You can play basketball anywhere.”
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