Wizards' Kyle Kuzma Comments on Lakers Trade Rumors: 'It's a Blessing'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers at Capital One Arena on December 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly showed interest in reacquiring Kyle Kuzma, which Washington Wizards forward believes is a compliment.

"I think it just shows you the grass is not always greener," Kuzma told Melissa Rohlin of Fox Sports. "It's definitely a good thing because at the end of the day, that means I've been playing well and I have value in this league that a team would want to trade for me. It's a blessing."

Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes first reported the Lakers' interest in Kuzma, noting the Wizards don't want to deal away the 27-year-old:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Lakers have "inquired" about trading for Kyle Kuzma, per <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisBHaynes</a><br><br>(via B/R live show) <a href="https://t.co/RWPcDVG9Hv">pic.twitter.com/RWPcDVG9Hv</a>

Kuzma is averaging 21.3 points per game, which would be a career high, to go with 7.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Washington acquired Kuzma in the 2021 deal that brought Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles.

Kuzma had spent his first four years with the Lakers, contributing both as a go-to offensive player and as an energy option off the bench. He averaged 15.2 points per game during this time there, helping the team win the NBA title in 2020.

Despite his production, the 6'9" forward was constantly the subject of trade rumors before eventually being dealt to the Wizards.

"I always look back and wish I would've gotten the fairer end of the stick a little bit, just with my role and how much I sacrificed," Kuzma said.

The trade has paid off for him personally, averaging 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in his first season before breaking out in 29 games this year. The Wizards have struggled as a team with an 11-19 record, although the Lakers haven't fared much better at 12-16. Both squads are 12th in their respective conference.

Kuzma has a $13 million player option for next season, although his improved play in 2022-23 makes testing free agency a smart move.

Haynes reported the Wizards are "open to signing him to a long-term extension," but it's clear there is plenty of interest in Kuzma around the league.