After Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka taking control of the Los Angeles Lakers front office, they immediately began to move towards a plan that would put the team in position to sign two free agents to max contracts in 2018.
With that came rampant speculation not only pertaining to free agency but trade rumors as well. That was especially true last season, though Kyle Kuzma does not necessarily consider that to be the case.
"Were there rumors last year with us?" Kuzma responded when asked if he found it easier to ignore speculation a second time. When the Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., Kuzma responded, "Not the young guys (who was included in the rumors). Those guys are old.
"This is my first go-around with this kind of stuff, but it's always a good thing, trade rumors. That's what everyone always says. It means you have value and it means you will be in this league a long time because people want you.
"For us, it's all about controlling what you can control. At the end of the day, it's a business, and you can not control your destiny in this league. But you can control your work ethic and how great you want to be. You can be great anywhere. "
While the Lakers appeared primarily focused on Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson becoming free agents this summer, that's shifted in the wake of Anthony Davis demanding a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers are among the teams expected to pursue Davis ahead of the February. 7 trade deadline. The Pelicans reportedly would seek a package that features Lonzo Ball, Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round draft pick.
While mentioning in trade speculation could be unnerving, especially for a young player, Kuzma did not have much of a reaction to developments with Davis. "I could not care less, honestly," he said.
"Control what you can control. You can play basketball anywhere. "
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