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Kyle Kuzma leans on Kobe Bryant's wisdom amid talk

LOS ANGELES — Over the years, Kyle Kuzma has leaned on late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for guidance during tough times, including trade speculation. 

“Kob’ used to always tell me, ‘If they’re not talking about you, then you should be worried,’” Kuzma said following the Lakers’ 129-102 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday at Staples Center. “And I’m the talk of the town.”

That’s because the trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m., and the Lakers have entertained various proposals that would involve the 24-year-old forward, who is more likely to stay because of his versatility and upside. They also would like to add another ball-handling point guard.

“I like where we’re at, personally. But it’s a ‘never say never’ business,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Obviously, if there’s ways to improve our team, then we’ll look into that. But I like where we’re at.”

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Kuzma does not seem fazed by the chatter.

“I really don’t care, honestly,” Kuzma said. “You can’t control it. I get traded, I get traded. Don’t matter. I’m still going to play basketball. Still going to play the game I love. Still going to get paid.”

Kuzma did not always have that perspective.

After the Lakers selected him with the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Kuzma thought he would remain with the Lakers forever. Then, Kuzma saw former teammates Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson get shipped off to Cleveland. In his second season, the Lakers made him available in trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.

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