Kyle Kuzma is the apparent trade asset the Lakers have to improve their team. He is still on a rookie scale contract; he’s a solid player, and most importantly, it seems LeBron GM gave him “the kiss of death.”
As much as he denies it, we’ve seen LeBron influence his team’s decision not just on the court but in the front office as well. Let us be clear; he is not unique in that regard. Most superstars are at least consulted in almost every move a team makes, and that makes sense. But, we’ve never seen such a level of impact on decision making as we did with LeBron in the past.
What makes it more problematic with LeBron, and imploded the Lakers locker-room last season, is his conflict of interest due to his connection with Rich Paul. Officially, the NBA didn’t find any inappropriate links between LeBron and Klutch Sports. What a shocker there. But, it’s no secret signing with Klutch brings you benefits of LeBron’s power – ask Ketavious Caldwell Pope.
Brian Shaw was an assistant coach with the Lakers until this season and has first-hand knowledge about the dynamic that goes on with the Lakers. It doesn’t hurt he played in the NBA for 15 years and was an assistant coach and a head coach since. The man is up to date and has a warning for all young Laker players.
“But I’ll tell any of the other young Lakers out there, don’t make the mistake that Kyle Kuzma’s team did and have your trainer say anything. I know Rich Paul was trying to sign Kyle Kuzma when he left his agent last year, he didn’t sign for Rich Paul. So, when you don’t sign with Rich Paul, and your trainer comes out and says Kawhi was giving it to LeBron, you’re gonna be outta there.”Brian Shaw, via The Bounce
We herd already about Kuzma’s trainer talking on social media about Kawhi and LeBron, calling LeBron out. Not a smart move. Shaw added the context most of us don’t know or don’t consider as much – Kuzma rejecting Klutch Sports. This is where LeBron’s connection to Klutch and Rich Paul comes problematic. There may not be anything there officially, but it’s not suitable for the team and locker room. When asked if he thinks LeBron gave Kuzma the kiss of death, Shaw was crystal clear.
“Oh man, no question.”Brian Shaw, via The Bounce
A decent player, on a cheap contract, the Lakers only realistic trade asset and he stepped on LeBron’s toes? If I were Kuzma, I’d have a bag packed at home, just in case.