Lakers who could benefit: 2. Kyle Kuzma
This season is essentially an audition tape for Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma is a restricted free agent after this season, meaning that any team can offer Kuzma a new contract but the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately control the situation as they can match any offer sheet that Kuzma signs.
There has already been talk of the Lakers and Kyle Kuzma agreeing to an extension that keeps him in LA past this season. However, I firmly believe that Rob Pelinka and the Lakers want Kuzma to prove that he is worth this big extension, or else he probably would have already gotten it from the team.
We recently covered how a Kuzma trade becomes more likely if Talen Horton-Tucker can prove that he is already a tangible rotation player and can essentially replace Kuzma’s minutes in the rotation.
Kuzma is going to get his shot to defend that spot in the rotation and his biggest test is going to be in the games that LeBron James does not play. Kuzma has to prove that he can be a consistent scoring option (he can score, just not consistently) as well as a better defender.
His fit on the roster with LeBron and AD is a bit quirky as he is redundant with the two superstars. One of those superstars playing fewer minutes and even resting some games is naturally going to give Kuzma more opportunities that he otherwise would not have.
He has to make the most of it.