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Kuzma: Trade rumors distracted ‘a lot’ of Lakers

For The Win logo For The Win 2/11/2019 Andrew Joseph
a man in a blue shirt: Associated Press © Associated Press Associated Press

By now, we know that the New Orleans Pelicans had no real intention of trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers at the trade deadline. Magic Johnson told reporters that the Pelicans operated in bad faith, which added credence to the notion that the Pelicans essentially wanted to tank the Lakers' chemistry as revenge.

The Pelicans' hope was that Lakers players would see their names in the leaked trade proposals and have their focus drift away from the court. Leading up to the deadline, the Lakers lost by 42 points to the Pacers. On Sunday, Kyle Kuzma admitted that the locker room was affected by the trade rumors.

Kuzma, who scored 39 points in a loss to the 76ers, discussed the team's meeting with Magic Johnson. He said that the Pelicans saga was the young core's first experience with trade rumors. He took it as a learning experience.

He said:

"Like I've said before, that was our first time around and a lot of us kind of let it get to us, but as professionals we can't."

Judging from the meeting with Magic, the Lakers brass certainly recognized that the trade rumors affected the team. Kuzma admitted that it was an issue, but it's one that the Lakers should be able to move past. After all, the deadline already happened.

Still, the Pelicans got what they wanted out of the whole ordeal in the short term - the Lakers played distracted for a week.

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