Originally the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers (via the Brooklyn Nets), Kyle Kuzma has quickly established himself as a fan favorite now.
Widely viewed as the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma is the last member of the team’s young core following the Anthony Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
As the 24-year-old is looking to establish himself as the third All-Star player alongside Davis and LeBron James, he is taking advantage of his off-the-court opportunities.
With Kuzma being a sneaker free agent and receiving interest from companies, he is closing in on signing with Puma, according to Marc Stein of New York Times:
Hearing some buzz from the shoe game since arriving in China: Puma is closing in on a deal to sign the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma .. who was forced to withdraw from Team USA last month with an ankle injury
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 11, 2019
Prior to the expected Puma deal heading into the 2019-20 NBA season, Kuzma also received interest from Nike and Jordan Brand, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“This summer, Kuzma is also a shoe-deal free agent and has received strong interest from endorsement companies, including Nike, Jordan Brand and Puma, sources said. Kuzma’s business manager, Vin Sparacio, has held ongoing discussions with interested companies.”
It has been quite the offseason for Kuzma. Along with being a sneaker free agent, he recently signed with Creative Artists Agency after parting ways with Priority Sports.
As Kuzma looks to take the next step in his young career, there will be more off-court opportunities as long as he produces on the court. During his brief time with Team USA, he showed a more mature game on both ends of the court.
With Kobe Bryant recently praising Kuzma’s versatility, there is more pressure on him — especially after DeMarcus Cousins‘ torn ACL injury. Kuzma will need to improve his three-point shooting, playmaking, and defense now.
While there are debates about Kuzma’s potential, there is no questioning his work ethic or drive to reach his goals.