2. Wizards take advantage of Rockets desire to contend
Houston was rumored to be interested in Kyle Kuzma in free agency. They owe a top-four protected first-round pick to the Thunder in 2024 and want to jump back into contention. They signed Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks this summer, but are off to a slow start. Do the Rockets double down before the deadline?
They have Victor Oladipo’s expiring contract to trade. They could package it with Landale’s non-guaranteed deal to land someone in Kuzma’s price range.
Jae’Sean Tate is playing just 17.5 minutes per game in the early going, and Landale is not part of the nightly rotation. With Oladipo injured and likely to miss most of the season, the Rockets are trading depth for a potential leading scorer. Jabari Smith Jr. has struggled on the defensive end, and Houston could take on the immediate upgrade to Kuzma in this bold move.
The Wizards could use Tate in their rotation and would get a lottery-protected first-round pick in the deal. That is enough to keep them happy, but the Rockets must be in contention to make this offer. So far, they are not, and getting back in won’t be easy in the crowded Western Conference.
If the Houston Rockets are not contending, there was one who expressed interest in Kyle Kuzma this summer.