The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly signed Kyle Kuzma to a three-year contract extension and it isn’t ideal for the purple and gold.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to terms with forward Kyle Kuzma on a three-year deal that will pay the 25-year-old $40 million over the course of contract.
The 2023-2024 season of the contract will also have a player option attached to it which is the first non-max rookie extension in league history to have that. This means the Lakers believe strongly in Kuzma’s ability as they are paying him like he is a solid foundation for the future of the franchise. While he isn’t getting max money, he’s still getting paid a pretty penny.
Kuzma averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Lakers last season, a year after averaging 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The drop in production can largely be attributed to the arrival of Anthony Davis and other offensive counterparts.
Still, Kuzma was never that great to begin with on either end of the floor. After shooting 36.6 percent from three-point land in his rookie season, Kuzma shot 30.3 percent and 31.6 percent in the two seasons since.
The Lakers are paying a sizable contract to someone who they overrate. Kuzma is a fine player, but he is not worth this contract nor what he is currently getting paid. The Lakers are paying for upside, which he might not have any more of — he is already 25 years old.
Kuzma has a solid bench fit for the Lakers going forward as he can provide a scoring burst off the bench, but he is worth a lot more to other teams around the NBA. It would have made more sense to allow Kuzma to walk.
Taking a look at the advanced numbers last season, Kuzma did make strides on the defensive end, posting a -0.97 DPIPM. That’s still not a good number considering he was also a net negative on the offensive end, shown by a -0.57 OPIPM. The Lakers just handed a meaningful contract to a below-average player. We’ll see how that works out.
Let’s take a look at three key reasons why signing Kyle Kuzma to a contract extension is not a good move for the Lakers.