LeBron James downplays beef after Kyle Kuzma's trainer calls him out

If criticism from a teammate’s trainer bothers LeBron James, he certainly doesn’t show it.

James downplayed any potential beef with Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma on Saturday after the third-year forward’s trainer, Clint Parks, criticized James over social media.

Following the team’s disappointing Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Clippers — during which the Lakers blew a 12-point halftime lead and James shot 2-of-12 from 3-point range — Parks insinuated that James wasn’t as dedicated as Kawhi Leonard.

Shortly after Park posted to his Instagram story, Kuzma tweeted a mysterious “Call a spade a spade message” that was later deleted. While there is some gray area as to what he was referencing, many have interpreted it as a knock on James. Kuzma later shot that idea down, saying he tweets random things all the time.

But when asked about everything, James could not have been more diplomatic. He has heard plenty of criticism before, and that didn’t concern him, as he told reporters:

“Kuz came to me yesterday at practice and told me what’s going on, and that was it. I really don’t care for someone’s trainer or whatever the case may be. Everyone can have their own opinion. Any time someone wants to get some notoriety, they can throw my name in it and people are going to pick it up. That’s why you asked me about it. My name was in it. I’ve never met the guy. I don’t know the guy. I couldn’t care less about the guy. Whatever the case may be, I wish him the best.”

Whether or not James is the same player he was in his Miami Heat days, he remains good enough to lead the best team in the West. Despite a four-game skid, the 24-7 Lakers have a 2.5 game lead on the second-place Denver Nuggets, and James is scoring a healthy 25.7 points per game to go with a league-high 10.6 assists per game.

Kyle Kuzma (0) and LeBron James (23) celebrate a basket as Dallas Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis (6) follows behind during an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
LeBron James downplayed any beef between him and Kyle Kuzma. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Does Kuzma really want to start something with LeBron?

What his trainer does is largely out of a player’s control, but beefing with LeBron James is a bad idea for anyone, let alone Kyle Kuzma. Just ask Mario Chalmers.

Kuzma may not be thrilled that he has to come off the bench after two years as a starter, but that’s probably better than being used as trade chip to get more shooting for James and Anthony Davis.

Because Kuzma is the one player that James and the Lakers wanted to keep when they emptied their roster to trade for Davis, this seems like a marriage that needs to work for everyone’s sake. Kuzma wouldn’t say whether or not he’d continue to train with Parks but added that after multiple years together, James knows who he is.

LeBron seems used to criticism at this point, but best not to test things again.

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