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Lakers' Kyle Kuzma signs 3-year, $40 million extension

Kuzma's new deal will keep him with the Lakers potentially through the 2024 season.

Kyle Kuzma has established himself as a key third option for the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Kyle Kuzma to a multiyear contract extension, the team announced Sunday. The deal is a three-year, $40 million extension, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“It is especially gratifying for our Lakers franchise to draft, develop and now sign one of our own to a contract extension,” Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement released by the team.

“Kyle has shown tremendous growth over the last three years, and played a crucial role on last season’s championship team. Kyle has been a terrific member of the Lakers community and we are all very excited about his continued future with us.”

Kuzma averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 61 games last season and was a key part of the Lakers’ run to the 2020 championship, averaging 10.0 points in 21 games in the Orlando bubble. He made the All-NBA rookie first team in 2018, and the smooth scorer averaged a career-best 18.7 points in his second pro season after the arrival of LeBron James.

On his career, the 27th pick of the 2017 Draft has averaged 16.0 points while shooting 44.9% overall and 33.1% on 3-pointers.

When Anthony Davis and several veteran additions transformed the Lakers into title contenders last season, Kuzma transitioned into a supporting role as a reserve scorer and a wing defender. His scoring average and shooting percentage declined, but he worked on improving his defense and playmaking.

Despite his decline in numbers, Kuzma is a valuable component for the defending champs because of his versatility and capability of providing quick offense. James and Davis have mentored Kuzma on defense as well, and Kuzma is expected to compete for a starting job and more minutes this season.

The Lakers begin defense of their 16th NBA championship on Tuesday night against the LA Clippers.

The champs will be pressed hard against the salary cap for the foreseeable future, so their ability to re-sign their own players is crucial. Kuzma also has significant value as a potential trade component at this salary if the Lakers and Kuzma decide to break up in the future.

The Lakers locked down a significant portion of their core during the short offseason after their triumph in the Florida bubble. Davis and James agreed to lucrative deals that will keep them together for three more seasons, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got a three-year deal worth more than $39 million.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.