LeBron James spoke of his relationship with Kyle Kuzma after the pair scored a combined 45 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Phoenix Suns in a massive 120-96 win Sunday.
After trailing by 10 points to the visitors following the first quarter, the Lakers turned it on as they outscored the Suns by 25 points in the second quarter to have a 61-46 lead, before outscoring them in the second half to go and win their third game in a row.
James posted 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists, but it was Kuzma who finished with a game-high 23 points while also contributing with eight rebounds, three assists and 8-for-14 field goal shooting with 3-for-8 from three-point range.
And when asked how his relationship with the 23-year-old has been developing since he signed with the Lakers earlier this summer, James revealed the relationship started even before that.
“Our relationship started as soon as I signed [in July],” James told reporters after the Suns win. “He was the first guy to call me off the team. He was very excited, and then our relationship started from there.”
“It actually started before that when I was in Cleveland [with the Cavaliers]. He kinda wanted to pick my brain, talk about the game of basketball and how he can get better and things of that nature, so we’ve always kinda had that mutual respect,” he said.
The 33-year-old even added that he saw a lot of Kuzma’s talent during the latter’s rookie 2017/18 season while talking about their relationship on the floor.
“I’ve seen a lot of how talented he was playing against him in the two games I had last year [against the Lakers] and then just watching [them] in the late games when I was back home,” James added. “Our relationship on the floor is getting better and better, and if he moves, I’m going to find him. I’m always looking for him, and he knows that.”
Kuzma also spoke of his relationship with the three-time champion and how he has helped him develop as a player.
“During last season, probably midseason when we played Cleveland, I tried to figure out what he does with his body and how he takes care of it,” Kuzma said after the game. “I’m just really inquisitive. He just really helped me out a lot.”
After a tough 2-5 start to the 2018/19 season where there were question marks about James and his decision to move to the Lakers, the Los Angeles franchise is now 14-9 and just half a game behind the Golden State Warriors.
Sitting in fifth in the Western Conference, if things continue to go as they have with seven wins in their last 10 games, it will almost be a formality that the Lakers will make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The Lakers play the San Antonio Spurs next on Wednesday.