After suffering a huge disappointment in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers became more aggressive in surrounding LeBron James with a better supporting cast this summer. Despite failing to secure a deal before the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers still succeeded to acquire All-Star center Anthony Davis in the 2019 NBA offseason by trading Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans.
According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Kyle Kuzma learned about the Lakers-Pelicans blockbuster trade in a Shanghai hotel. In the middle of the night, his manager woke him up and informed him that the Lakers had traded for Anthony Davis. Though he’s saddened by the departure of his close pals, Kuzma believes that acquiring a “generational talent” like Anthony Davis is a type of opportunity that is hard to pass for the Lakers.
After learning that they were traded to the Pelicans, Kyle Kuzma said that Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart were all “excited” to have a fresh start and create something special in New Orleans.
“They were excited,” Kuzma said. “It’s a little bit less pressure. They didn’t [actually] say that. But obviously being in L.A., there’s more pressure. They can be themselves now. They can go to New Orleans and develop into the superstars they were supposed to be.”
Lakers' @kylekuzma tells @TheAthleticNBA: "Playing with LeBron, with AD, I got high dreams for myself to do some pretty special things in my career. So that's motivation in itself. It’s a testament to my work ethic." https://t.co/HC6FRIAmpl
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 9, 2019
It’s easy to understand why Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart felt thrilled being in a new environment. When the Lakers acquired LeBron James last summer, Ball and Ingram, who both need the ball in their hands to be effective on the floor, were forced to make huge adjustments in their game. Kuzma thinks that sharing the court with a ball-dominant veteran like James may have stunted the growth of Ball and Ingram.
Compared to his former teammates, Kyle Kuzma has immediately built a good chemistry with LeBron James in their first year of playing together. Kuzma believes that his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity will greatly help him fit in seamlessly alongside James and Anthony Davis in the 2019-20 NBA season.
“I’ve never been a ball-dominant guy,” Kuzma said. “I’ve always played off the ball. It is going to be a little bit easier, going to have a lot of open shots. It is my job to trust my summer workouts and what I’ve done.”
Though the Lakers failed to acquire Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, Kyle Kuzma believes that the Lakers have what it takes to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Los Angeles. If he further improves his shooting and defense, Kuzma is very confident that he’s capable of becoming the third superstar who will be wearing the purple and gold next season.