Lakers Notes: LeBron, Future, Kuzma, Howard

It has been an eventful week for the Lakers, who have agreed to new deals with both of their two superstars — LeBron James is signing through 2023, while Anthony Davis will be under contract through at least 2024.

In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton explores what those two new contracts mean for the Lakers’ long-term future, observing that Rob Pelinka and the front office can now focus on how to fill out the roster around the team’s two stars in the coming years. While the Lakers’ 2020/21 roster is set, only two players besides James and Davis (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marc Gasol) have guaranteed contracts beyond this season.

With little to no projected cap room for 2021 and beyond, the Lakers will likely prioritize re-signing their own free agents next year rather than shaking up the roster too significantly, Pelton writes. Dennis Schröder, Alex Caruso, and Kyle Kuzma are among the younger players who will be up for new deals in 2021.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In his look at LeBron’s extension, Bill Oram of The Athletic suggests that comparisons to the two-year, $48MM deal Kobe Bryant signed with the Lakers at age 35 are misplaced. Oram says Kobe’s extension was a “gift” to Bryant, who was coming off a torn Achilles at the time. James’ extension comes after he finished second in MVP voting and was named Finals MVP in 2020.
  • Kyle Kuzma said today that his agent and the Lakers have talked about a contract extension, but he declined to offer any additional specifics (Twitter link via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). “We’ll see,” Kuzma said. As Bobby Marks of ESPN points out (via Twitter), L.A. could be more open to a rookie scale extension for Kuzma now that the team isn’t as concerned about retaining cap flexibility for 2021.
  • Asked about the message he tweeted – and then deleted – on the first night of free agency about returning to the Lakers, new Sixers center Dwight Howard essentially confirmed the explanation reported at the time by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “At one point, I thought I (had an offer from the Lakers),” Howard said, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “And so that’s when you saw the infamous tweet because I really thought I was going back, but there was no offer.”
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26 thoughts on “Lakers Notes: LeBron, Future, Kuzma, Howard

  1. Sillivan

    Kuzma cap hold 10.6 million
    Exclude cap hold
    Lakers 8 players salaries 112 million
    Projected
    Kuzma 12m
    DS 15m
    10 players total 139 million
    Luxury tax bill

      • The Human Rain Delay

        Curios ? Do you watch any Laker games ?

        Caruso is twice the NBA player Kuzma is……. He isnt getting the min….Lakers got multiple calls last deadline season on him

        Kuzma would basically have to have a full on JClarkson 28 MPG breakout to get 12 mill a yr…it aint happening

    • brownscavsr4me

      Man where are you getting these Kuzma numbers? Show me one source projecting Kuzma to get 12 million. I’ll say it again, he is 228 in PER in the league and shot 31% from 3. Tweaners aren’t desirable in the league if they can’t shoot (i.e. Aaron Gordon, Michael Beasley, Jabari Parker)

      • Sillivan

        The difference between KCP and Kuzma is that

        Kuzma is a good fit for bad team and small market

        Trade

  2. Thronson5

    Didn’t they sign Harrell to a 2 year deal? This article says only Gasol, AD, LeBron & KCP are under contract next year. I know it’s a 1 + 1 deal but there’s no guarantee he’s going to decline that option.

    • Luke Adams

      I think they expect him to opt out, but I’ll tweak the wording to account for the fact that he’s technically under contract as well.

  3. bowserhound

    Dwight signed with Philly pretty quick. Did he expect Pelinka to make him a priority?

    • The Human Rain Delay

      The dude writes in crayon –

      Not so hot take- The Lakers ( mostly Lebron ) didnt want DHow whatsoever-

      Lebron is pretty sensitive, you better believe that 10 day window where Dwight was deciding wheather to follow Irving and Bradleys message over his played in
      If you look you wont find Avery as well

      Howard was preety overated last year imo –

      He played about a good game and a half on Jokic then the Joker figured him out and tbh had his way with him from there on out

      • Howard was valuable for the Lakers and played well overall. The only real knock on him last season would be that he fouled too often, and many of those fouls were unintelligent ones to say the least. Nevertheless, he accepted his role and was a significant player for the team.

        • The Human Rain Delay

          I think its overstated a little, often times any team who wins the ship has players like these get a little too much hype-

          He has zero offense, clogs the lane, and is in the wrong lane for which the NBA is heading –

          Our whole offense went to a whole new level when Morris came in – It opened up a whole new dimension, one in which I think we prefer over a Javal/Howard combo at center

          We made do with what we had because we had too at the time. Im much more excited at the possibility of no clogged lanes and outside shooting bigs (who can pass) at the expense of some shot blocking

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    What’s the starting 5 ??
    Schroeder, Pope, Bron, AD, Gasol .
    That’s two new players here. That takes adjusting. Not saying it won’t work. But it’s not the same team. So now you got who on bench ??
    Caruso, Harrell, Kuzma, Dudley, Mathews, Morris, Tucker, McKinnie,
    So this is suppose to put fear in the NBA. Lakers won as a team last yr. Their depth played a big role in that. IMO their bench is not as strong. They still need to fill out their roster. And they don’t have a rim protector yet. I was them I’d sign Dedmond. Lakers are a good team. But I don’t see a guaranteed winner here. Nobody fears this team. They will have to earn it. Like they did last yr. Thats what I see.

    • The Human Rain Delay

      Its not who starts its who finishes that matter –

      Dennis needs to do whatever Vogel tells him, he isnt a big enough pull to be making demands imo, especially his first year as a Laker

    • mrshyguy99

      hpw dpes this team not put fear in anyone. this is pretty much the same team only team they really lost is rondo basketball IQ. dennis is a much better shooter and get pass a little, wes and green even each other since green struggle. we dont know of losing mcgee and howard will hurt or not. but gaslo bring something to the table both couldnt it open the paint for AD and we sign the 6th man of the year. we might be even better than last. will it show in the first few game no but overall it will

  5. All things considered, the Lakers had an outstanding off season, starting with filling their biggest need ahead of the draft getting DS. Not the biggest fan of Harrell, but he made sense here. WM for BAE was good. Gasol and Morris (full season) for minimum were great. KCP was an overpay, but they had little choice. They’re still short on the perimeter, but no more than last year, and they still have Kuzma to trade.

  6. The Human Rain Delay

    Lakers are going to fall in love with the second unit this year –

    I really want a DS Caruso Harrell Morris Kuz unit – I mean thats an insanely atheletic twitchy run run run unit thats not only going to hold leads but a lot of nights expand them-

    Lakers blew nobody out last year, it was a get to the last 6 mins grind out victories night after night, I think that changes this year big time

  7. Curtis Smith

    Plain and simple the lakers got better.
    The question is did any other team improve enough to beat them 4 out of 7 games

    • Personally, I am in wait-and-see mode regarding whether they got better, but I don’t think they got worse. At worst, I think they will be at least as good as they were last season, and could very well be better. Lebrun and Davis gelled pretty quickly and they are a great combo, probably the best in the NBA. Their biggest perceived competition last season was the Clippers, and they seem second only to the Rockets among competitive teams that seem to be stumbling in the dark lately. I think the Lakers have gained stability, even with some new players, while some of their main competition has lost a lot of it. One thing that should be mentioned, I think, is that, even though he wasn’t the Lakers’ first choice, Vogel has seemed to be an ideal coach for this team. I think the Lakers are in a great position to repeat, and should be the favorites at this point.

            • The Human Rain Delay

              Its strange bc baseball gives you 5 mins to edit your post and Im assuming these are at least sister companies?
              Would be a nice function to incorporate over here as well

  8. x%sure

    The Lakers are about the same. Credit for posting humor must go out to imindless and tatsu for making wild assertions that the Lakers would be adding Giannis and other stars like the Lakers are an amusement park adding new rides every year. No, that’s not how it happens. They got Schroder, but Caruso is better. They got Harrell, but lost height inside. The games of Harrell & Gasol have to be integrated. Lucky to get even them, who may not improve the W-L.

    Warrior fans (strike4) can be similar, but GSW is going down, not returning to the throne.

  9. mind_riot

    Until about six years ago I had never met a Warriors fan. And H-Town, I am a huge Hakeem fan, but y’all are arguing stupid.

    Show some respect. To the Lakers and their 17 banners and counting. And to LBJ who, after he wins the next couple of chips and passes the beloved KAJ as the best scorer in NBA history, will be the the GOAT.

    And to Kobe, because not one of your teams has had a player as great as 8/24. None of you.

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