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Lakers News: Kyle Kuzma Wants to Stay with LA, Not Bothered by Trade Rumors

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 9, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 125-116.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

As the Los Angeles Lakers pursue some of the top players in the league via trade and free agency this summer, Kyle Kuzma's future with the team has become cloudy.

Kuzma's name has been among those mentioned in a potential trade package for San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. On Thursday, the 22-year-old told TMZ Sports that he isn't bothered by being mentioned in trade talks, but he also made it clear he wants to remain in L.A.:

"Yeah, for sure," Kuzma said when asked if he wants to play for the Lakers in 2018-19. "I can't control—I just control what I can control, really, and that's just getting better."        

After being taken with the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA draft, the 6'9", 220-pound forward put together a solid rookie campaign. He averaged 16.1 points on 45 percent shooting and snagged 6.3 rebounds per game.

Given he showed plenty of promise in his first year in the league, the Utah product could wind up being a key piece in a potential trade that brings an established star, like Leonard, to Tinseltown.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported on Thursday that four-time NBA MVP LeBron James recently contacted two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant about teaming up in Los Angeles through free agency this summer. While he believes that pair is "a little bit too far-fetched," he didn't talk too much about the possibility of playing with James.

"You know, if he decides to come here, he does," Kuzma told TMZ. "It'll be interesting to see what he does."

At this point, it's tough for Kuzma to talk too much about the future of the Lakers. The team is trying to land any combination of James, Leonard, Durant and Paul George. While adding any number of those would give the franchise an opportunity to compete for a championship, Kuzma could find himself wearing a different uniform next season depending on the acquisitions made.

For now, Kuzma can enjoy his time in L.A., even if he and Lonzo Ball have to tone down their fun.