As president of basketball operations Magic Johnson does not believe the New Orleans Pelicans acted in good faith, he eventually met with the players to address the trade rumors prior to the team’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
While player movement is a part of professional sports, it clearly impacted the young core’s performance as they were involved in trade rumors for the first time.
However, for Kuzma, he embraced all of the attention that came with the Davis trade rumors and took a shot at the Orlando Magic, according to Sirius XM NBA:
"I'd rather be talked about bad in L.A. than play in Orlando and not get talked about, so."
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) February 15, 2019
As the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, it became very clear early on Kuzma’s personality was made for Los Angeles. While the 23-year-old appeared to be impacted by the trade rumors, it was a new experience for him and he can focus on the remainder of the 2018-19 NBA season.
After winning the 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars Game Most Valuable Player, Kuzma has his sights on the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago, IL. In order to take that step, Kuzma will need to improve his defense and playmaking.
With 25 games remaining in the 2018-19 NBA season, the focus for Kuzma and the Lakers will be to end their five-year playoff drought. If the Lakers fail to make it in Year 1 with LeBron James, there will be plenty of criticism directed at him and the young core.