The Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is having some fun on social media after his former team; the Los Angeles Lakers got swept at the hands of Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.
Following their playoff exit, the Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka gave a press conference today, signaling their intentions of “keeping their core players together”. Kyle Kuzma was not buying it.
Kuzma, who was drafted by the Lakers in 2017 and played for the team for four years, has good reason for being skeptical. After winning a championship with the Lakers in 2020, Kuzma and the Lakers were eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns in 2021 following an injury-riddled regular season and playoffs by both Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Following that defeat, Pelinka said something very similar to today, stating, “[they] have a core group of players that can do special things and the goal is to try and keep that core group together.”
Only a few weeks after Pelinka’s statement, the Lakers famously traded for Russell Westbrook in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and Kuzma, breaking the core group that won the Lakers their championship.
It is too early to tell whether the Lakers’ current role players will suffer the same fate as the 2021 team but Kuzma is certainly right pointing out the possibility.
The NBA is a business, and general managers like Rob Pelinka make that clear on a regular basis. When that is the case, one can not blame Kuzma for getting a special joy out of watching his former team’s demise.