Kyle Kuzma was fast asleep in a Shanghai hotel when his manager woke him up in the middle of the night to tell him the Los Angeles Lakers had traded for Anthony Davis.
In a blockbuster trade, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart -- once considered the future of the Lakers -- were dealt to New Orleans for the Pelicans' All-Star big man in June.
Kuzma, now the final young Laker standing from the core group that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka assembled, says he's ready to become that third star LeBron James and Davis will need after free-agent target Kawhi Leonard opted to join the LA Clippers in free agency.
"I don't feel no pressure, but I believe that I am capable of being that superstar," Kuzma told ESPN. "I put a lot of work in. My progress through my journey shows that I can be there. I developed every single year, dating back to college, and I don't see that development stunting at all."
Kuzma added, "Last year I didn't shoot the ball well, and I still averaged almost 20 [points per game]. If I can shoot the ball well and keep developing the facets of my game defensively, I don't see why I can't [be that third star]."
From making it out of the tough environment of Flint, Michigan, to becoming a little-known, late-first-round draft pick out of Utah, Kuzma noted how he has continually beaten the odds and exceeded expectations.
Currently on the USA Basketball training camp roster, the 24-year-old hopes to launch himself into the biggest season of his basketball career by making the U.S. team and playing in next month's FIBA World Cup. It's a big summer for the third-year forward, who averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season. Kuzma, who saw his 3-point shooting dip from 36.6% as a rookie to 30.3% last season, believes he fits in seamlessly alongside James and Davis.
"I've never been a ball-dominant guy," Kuzma said. "I've always played off the ball. It is going to be a little bit easier, going to have a lot of open shots. It is my job to trust my summer workouts and what I've done. Just breathe, focus and knock those shots down, because I'm going to be open."
The Lakers once envisioned Kuzma drilling perimeter shots off passes from Ball and Ingram. That ended in June, with Kuzma learning of the trade from his manager, Vin Sparacio, half a world away while in Shanghai for business.