Just a few days out from the start of the 2021 NBA season, the Lakers have made another move with an eye on the future. Early on Sunday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Kyle Kuzma had agreed to a deal that keeps him in Los Angeles through 2024.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has agreed to a three-year, $40M contract extension, including a player option on 2023-2024 season, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2020
The timing of the deal is significant, as the deadline to reach an extension agreement before Free Agency was only two days away. With an agreement now behind them, both Kuzma and the Lakers can go into the season focused on the road ahead.
One thing to note is that this deal has a player option after the 2022-2023 season, the first time that a non-max rookie extension has ever included that. This would allow Kyle Kuzma to opt-out of the final year of his deal in the event that he outperforms his contract and can earn more on the open market.
For the Lakers, this deal gives them two options going forward. The obvious one is to keep Kuzma throughout his contract as a key rotation piece behind LeBron and Anthony Davis. But another option would be to be used as a trade piece later on should a good deal become available. With Kuzma set to earn $13.3 million per season, that becomes an attractive trade chip for other teams versus an expiring rookie deal that would be a bigger risk to trade for.
Whatever plan the Lakers have for Kuzma, this deal offers great value for both sides. Kyle Kuzma is betting on his ability to have increased productivity and the Lakers got a great deal for a player that has been key for their success in recent seasons.
Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers are scheduled to open up the new season on December 22nd against the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:00 PM on TNT.