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Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma says it’s a ‘bummer’ he couldn’t finish time with Team USA

Kyle Kuzma, Lakers, Team USA

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is unhappy he had to withdraw from Team USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup team this week following an untimely ankle injury.

Kuzma, 24, tweeted on Sunday morning that it’s a “bummer” he couldn’t finish his time this summer with Team USA, but he’s not worried about them moving forward. The budding offensive star for the Lakers also expressed excitement to return healthy to Los Angeles and “get ready for the real show.”

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, the five-time NBA champion serving his first term as coach of Team USA right now, discussed Kuzma’s situation (per MassLive.com’s John Karalis):

“It’s a huge disappointment, because [Kuzma] was a young, energetic guy who was really learning and could play a lot of positions for us. Mostly, I feel badly for him, because he missed play, and this holds him back a little bit for the season also.

“So, hopefully, he’ll heal quickly. But, he was wonderful while he was here, and we do miss him.”

The 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 70 appearances last season for the purple and gold, shooting 45.6% from the field, 30.3% from deep, and 75.2% from the free-throw line.

The absence of Kuzma whittles Team USA’s roster down to 12 players. The NBA’s offseason has seen a common theme of big-name players dropping out of the FIBA World Cup — not just for Team USA — and Kuzma is the latest name to pack up his things in order to focus on the forthcoming season in the fall and prioritize his health.