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Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma’s days with the team are reportedly numbered, as he’s viewed as a viable trade target for multiple teams.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, indications point to Kuzma departing Washington in free agency next summer. Because of this, Stein noted “there’s a rising belief leaguewide that Kuzma is gettable between now and the Feb. 9 trade deadline as a result because the Wizards might ultimately be forced to concede that they have to trade him before the buzzer to ensure they don’t lose him for nothing.”
The Wizards (13-21) have lost 11 of their last 13 games, including a 10-game skid in that span. Washington is coming off a 125-111 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday behind one of Kuzma’s best performances of the season. The 27-year-old recorded 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. It was his fourth 30-point outing of the year.
A six-year veteran, Kuzma is in the midst of the best season of his NBA career. He’s averaging career-highs of 21.8 points, 35.4 minutes and 46.9 percent shooting while adding 7.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He’s making $13 million in the final year of a three-year deal he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, who traded him to Washington as part of the deal that acquired point guard Russell Westbrook.
Kuzma acknowledged to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin last week that he intends to test the open market in the upcoming offseason. The most the Wizards can offer him on an in-season extension would be $70 million over four years.
“It’s not a smart business move,” Kuzma said. “The max I can make if I sign right now is $15 [million]. If you look at the market, that’s not market price.”
It would make sense for the Wizards to try to recoup assets in exchange for Kuzma if the team isn’t confident in its chances to retain him next summer. However, Kuzma appears to be enjoying his role in Washington and could want to remain in a situation where he’s one of the primary options.