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Lakers news: Team signs Kyle Kuzma to three-year, $40 million extension

Lakers news: Kyle Kuzma extension
Oct 2, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) reacts after a play during the first quarter against the Miami Heat in game two of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of the top potential restricted free agents on the NBA market next summer, Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, is going nowhere.

Lakers news previously suggested that Kuzma might be traded after the defending champs brought in a ton of frontcourt reinforcements during the offseason. That’s not going to be the case.

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Lakers news: Team signs Kyle Kuzma to a three-year, $40 million extension

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes, Kuzma does have a player option for the third year on said deal. It will enable him to potentially hit free agency following the 2022-23 season.

This is some pretty big Lakers news for numerous reasons. Despite some struggles last season, Kyle Kuzma has shown well in his first three NBA seasons. That included the 25-year-old forward averaging 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds on 46% shooting back in 2018-19. While those numbers dropped this past season, Kuzma is still an important member of the Lakers’ rotation.

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Lakers news: What the Kyle Kuzma extension means

Lakers news: Kyle Kuzma extension
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With an ability to play both the three and four, Kuzma offers the Lakers a nice amount of flexibility off the bench. After starting 105 games in each of his first two seasons, the former first-round pick started just nine games during the 2019-20 campaign. He’ll be the top backup at both spots.

By retaining Kuzma instead of opting to trade him, the Lakers have one of the deepest rotations in the entire NBA. Lakers news next summer will also likely include them looking into the possibility of adding the Kyle Kuzma contract in a trade for another star.

It’s in this that general manager Rob Pelinka is thinking long-term. If Los Angeles had not signed Kuzma to an extension, he would have likely walked in free agency. Instead, the Lakers could package his contract with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to potentially bring in another star behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Rumors have suggested that they are going to go big-game hunting once NBA free agency starts next summer. This adds a whole new layer to that belief.

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