Kyle Kuzma has been one of the few bright spots on the Washington Wizards this season. He has been the team's best player by a wide margin and an exemplary leader to this young group. As good as he has been for the Wizards, he is still a better fit on a championship team than a rebuilding one.
Kuzma is in the midst of a career season. He is having his most efficient season despite having a career-high usage rate. He has the best assist percentage of his career while having lowered his turnover rate. Not only does he have career-best points and assists per game, but he is also shooting the best percentages of his career from all over the court. His game is more mature than it has ever been.
Plus, Kuzma has shown a new level of maturity in terms of leadership as well. He has played every single game of the season so far and has taken responsibility for some of the ugly losses. He has been the vocal heart and soul of this team. Therefore, it would hurt to lose him at the trade deadline.
But, Kuzma deserves to be on a better team. He has the perfect skill set to thrive on playoff teams. He plays a scarce position. There simply aren't too many two-way combo forwards with his size. He defends, hits open shots, and makes plays for his teammates. His game has no real weaknesses, which is extremely valuable.
Plenty of playoff hopefuls like the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sacramento Kings, and the Dallas Mavericks could use Kuzma's services. These teams also have young players and draft assets they could offer the Wizards. If Washington can get one lightly-protected first-round pick and an intriguing young asset, they should be willing to part ways with Kuzma.
It will hurt but that is what rebuilding entails. It requires difficult decisions that might hurt the team in the present. The goal is to maximize assets for the future. And when you have an in-demand player that could serve other teams better than yours, you have to know the right time to say goodbye. Kuzma's departure to greener pastures will make both him and the Washington Wizards better off.