Kyle Kuzma was already a highly coveted trade target this year at the deadline. As a confident young player, he showed exactly how underutilized he was on the Lakers, displaying real growth each of his last two years in Washington.
In Los Angeles, Kuzma took an understandable backseat to stars Lebron James and Anthony Davis. When he got to Washington it wasn’t clear what he could contribute. It isn’t easy to play with a player like James and it can obscure a player’s individual talents. Kuzma proved highly valuable when given the chance, showing he could be a consistent scorer, averaging over 20 points per game for the first time in his career. His shooting wasn’t particularly effective but he did still manage 70 percent at the rim, 71st percentile among forwards per cleaningtheglass.com. His usage was at a career-high this year, over 27 percent but his overall shooting stayed relatively the same showing he can maintain consistency regardless of his minutes average.
The question with Kuzma is what he will do this summer. While his trade value is at an all-time high, he isn’t under contract with the Wizards. He has a player option for $13 million that he is most likely to decline, putting him into unrestricted free agency. Kuzma hasn’t ruled out resigning in Washington but the best for all parties would most likely be a sign-and-trade. It all depends on what Kuzma is looking for.
There aren’t many teams with outright cap space. If Kuzma and his agent find somewhere he would want to go, a deal could get done for a sign-and-trade, that would compensate Washington with some draft capital. Thus slowly adding assets as things start to churn.