James downplays talk of Kuzma rift as Lakers seek to end skid

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James isn't about to be drawn into a social media spat with teammate Kyle Kuzma over critical comments from Kuzma's trainer.

James, speaking to reporters on Saturday in Portland ahead of the Lakers' NBA game against the Trail Blazers, said he'd spoken to Kuzma, and wasn't bothered by the social media remarks of trainer Clint Parks apparently comparing James unfavorably to Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Kuz came to me yesterday at practice and told me what's going on, and that was it," James said.

"I really don't care for someone's trainer or whatever the case may be. Everyone can have their own opinion.

"Any time someone wants to get some notoriety, they can throw my name in it and people are going to pick it up. That's why you asked me about it. My name was in it. I've never met the guy. I don't know the guy. I couldn't care less about the guy."

Kuzma, who is averaging 11.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game off the bench for the Lakers this season, confirmed he had addressed the matter with James.

"I just told him I can't control what another man says," Kuzma said of his conversation with LeBron.

"Obviously I don't feel that way. Everybody knows that me and 'Bron have a great relationship ... and I left it at that."

The drama comes with the Lakers on a four-game losing streak, with James battling a groin contusion suffered in a collision with Patrick Beverley in the team's Christmas Day loss to the Clippers.

Despite the skid, the Lakers went into Saturday's game at Portland leading the Western Conference with a 24-7 record that put them ahead of the Denver Nuggets.