Lakers Exercise Team Option On Kyle Kuzma For 2020-21 NBA Season
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Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially exercised their team option on Kyle Kuzma for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Originally the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets, Kuzma was traded to the Lakers along with Brook Lopez for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.

During Kuzma’s rookie season, he established himself as the steal of the draft. In 77 games (37 starts) for the Lakers, he averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 31.2 minutes en route to 2018 NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

And in Kuzma’s sophomore season, he proved his rookie season was no fluke as he averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 33.1 minutes. Along with being the best fit alongside LeBron James, the Lakers made a concerted effort not to include him the Anthony Davis trade.

After six seasons of rebuilding through the NBA Draft, Kuzma is the final member of the team’s young core.

As Kuzma has not played in the 2019 NBA preseason and is considered day-to-day with a stress reaction in his left foot, there is pressure on him to become the team’s third All-Star player alongside James and Davis. However, the 24-year-old is confident in himself due to his strong work ethic.

With Kuzma already maximizing his opportunities on and off the court in his third season in Los Angeles, he will be eligible for a contract extension during his fourth season.

While it is currently unclear what the 2021 NBA free agency market will be like for Kuzma, he is not thinking about it. However, Kuzma shared he ‘would literally play this game for free’ but also has interests in producing films now.

As Kuzma has a bright future ahead of him, the focus is on the present as the Lakers have an opportunity to not only end their six-year playoff drought but win the 2020 NBA Finals. With the 2019-20 Lakers roster full of veterans, Kuzma reaching his potential will be a major factor.