Three years ago, the Los Angeles Lakers made perhaps as bold a move as they ever had, trading Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and multiple draft picks for Anthony Davis.
It was quite a return for the Pelicans, who are now looking like a rising team in the Western Conference after making a couple of other moves. In fact, some still think they got the better end of the deal.
However, the Lakers, if nothing else, succeeded in this trade by doing one thing: not losing Kyle Kuzma.
He stuck around and played a key role off the bench as they won the NBA championship the very next season.
While on the “Draymond Green Show,” Kuzma admitted that not being included in the Davis trade emboldened him.
“I mean, that they believed I’m a winning player and someone that can bring a championship to this organization. And none of this was ever said. I’m just reading your actions, and your actions are telling me that you believe in me because you didn’t trade me, right? You think whatever role I may put in, whatever you think, that’s gonna help y’all win a championship. So that just gave me even more confidence, you know what I mean?”
From the time he was a rookie in L.A. during the 2017-18 season, it was clear that Kuzma was a very good player. But he displayed a refined skill set on offense that very few rookies have.
Later on, he also significantly improved his rebounding and defense.
Ever since he was traded for Russell Westbrook last summer, the 6-foot-9 forward from Flint, Mich. is someone many Lakers fans have been pining for.