Washington Wizards: What is Kyle Kuzma’s trade value?

Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

Perhaps to the surprise of some fans and analysts, the Washington Wizards re-signed Kyle Kuzma to a four-year, $90 million contract this offseason. It is a good piece of business for the Wizards, not only because Kuzma is a valuable two-way forward, but also because the deal makes him a very movable and enticing trade asset. There is a decent chance that Kuzma can outperform that $22.5 million a year salary, which could garner a nice return in a trade for Washington. But, what is the value of a player of Kuzma’s caliber in a trade package?

Kuzma plays a valuable position. There simply aren’t too many 6’9 players who can score, make plays, and play good defense while playing both forward positions. The rarity of his skillset makes Kuzma an in-demand player. There are plenty of playoff teams every year who has a hole in their forward rotation that Kuzma can fill easily.

Some analogs for Kyle Kuzma and his situation are Jerami Grant and Aaron Gordon. Grant and Gordon play the same position as Kuzma, were making similar salaries, and got traded in the last two years. They are arguably better players than Kyle Kuzma, but at the time of their trades, Grant had only one year left on his contract and Gordon had one and a half years remaining.

The fact that Kuzma is locked into a team-friendly contract for multiple years could increase his trade value relative to his counterparts.

Aaron Gordon was making $18 million in 2021 and had 1.5 years left on his deal with the Orlando Magic. He ended up getting acquired by the Denver Nuggets in exchange for shooting guard Gary Harris, rookie R.J. Hampton, and a 2025 first-round draft pick. Hampton was Denver’s 24th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, and Harris was a solid rotation player.

This return equals two late first-round draft picks and a fine rotation player.

For Jerami Grant, the return was more modest, mostly because he had only one year left on his $20 million contract. Portland acquired Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a 2025 first-round pick from Milwaukee, a 2025 second-rounder, and a 2026 second-rounder while also moving back from the 36th overall pick to 46th in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Considering that Milwaukee’s pick in 2025 will likely be at the end of the first round, this was an underwhelming return for the Pistons for a valuable player. But, this is the risk of waiting too long to trade your players. Detroit would have presumably gotten a larger haul if they traded him during the season.

What these two examples demonstrate is the fact that at the bare minimum, the Wizards can receive at least one late first-round pick. Assuming that the Wizards don’t make the same mistake of waiting too long as the Pistons, they can get a package similar to what Denver got for Aaron Gordon. And they can probably get that offer at any point in the next two seasons.

If the Wizards find a package worth two mid-to-late first-rounders for Kuzma, they should and likely would pull the trigger. Let’s see when that actually happens, but until then, it’s great to have Kuzma back in Washington.