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Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz Around Anthony Davis' Free Agency, Kyle Kuzma's Role

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team introduce Anthony Davis at a news conference at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, Calif., Saturday, July 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are excited to begin the 2019-20 NBA campaign with prized addition Anthony Davis, but the only guarantee is he plays one season for the franchise.

After that, however, his future is a guessing game.

For the Lakers, the best-case scenario starts with a successful 2019-20 for the All-Star next to LeBron James. Then, next summer, Davis would sign a long-term contract to stay in Los Angeles and lead the decorated organization for several more seasons.

But, as Kawhi Leonard leaving the Toronto Raptors showed, even a championship doesn't lock up a return. Davis might prefer to continue his career outside of LeBron's now-approaching shadow.

Despite the venture into free agency being 10-plus months away, rumors are already starting to fly about Davis' future.

Citing a source, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Rich Paul views the New York Knicks as an attractive spot for Davis.

"The 2020 free-agent pool is short on stars, but they could be one of the favorites for big fish Anthony Davis if the Lakers implode. Rich Paul, Davis' agent, likes the idea of his client in New York."

Howard Simmons/Associated Press

Before the New Orleans Pelicans shipped Davis to Los Angeles, reports about a potential trade constantly mentioned the Knicks. Right before the deadline, a report noted they were on equal footing with the Lakers for his signature on a long-term contract.

Pessimistic Knicks fans are free to insert a hefty sigh and "here we go again." Year after year, New York is connected to marquee players, but they've all gone elsewhere.

Nevertheless, while Davis' uniform has changed, the Knicks' interest has not.

In the meantime, he'll be playing on an overhauled Lakers roster. The team's top returning talent beyond LeBron is Kyle Kuzma, who's still trying to figure out his role in 2019-20.

The third-year forward isn't concerned, though.

"I've started the year coming off the bench, and just prove myself," he said, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. "I'm always going to find my way no matter who's on the court. I think every time I step on the court, I'm one of the better players on the floor. For me, that's always been my mentality. I'm never worried about things that I can't control."

Klay Thompson and Kyle Kuzma
Klay Thompson and Kyle KuzmaThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

New coach Frank Vogel must decide on a rotation, but it's likely to feature Kuzma as the secondary option on a lineup when LeBron or Davis heads to the bench.

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson recently said Kuzma has an ideal skill set to surround his All-Star teammates.

"He's perfect for today's game with his ability to score on the perimeter, Thompson told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times. "He's really like a three man playing the four. He has to improve his catch-and-shoot ability a little more ... but I think he's going to take on that third superstar role and really take off with it."

Kuzma connected on just 30.3 percent of his three-point attempts last year, and his 31.7 rate on catch-and-shoot triples wasn't great. However, both numbers dropped about six percentage points from his rookie season. The room for improvement is obvious.

And if Kuzma takes a major step in his development, it will only bolster the Lakers' pitch to Davis next summer.

               

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.