The Washington Wizards are 18-25, 12th in the Eastern Conference. Given that French prospect Victor Wembanyama is available next summer, you would think teams like the Wizards would try to look ahead to June and trade key players for pieces that could help them in the future.
But the Wizards aren’t “most teams.”
According to Marc Stein’s newsletter, the Wizards are unlikely to trade Kuzma by the February trade deadline. And if anything, the Wizards are trying to get him to re-sign this summer when Kuzma enters unrestricted free agency.
Most NBA teams are like sharks seeing blood in the water around Washington given their record. They see a player with a legitimate chance at an All-Star appearance toil away with a team that should be rebuilding. Kuzma is averaging 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season.
It makes sense that many contending teams are willing to take a chance on a half-year “rental.” If Kuzma is traded to a team that makes a deep playoff run, perhaps he will re-sign with that team.
But the Wizards are Kuzma’s current team and put him in situations where he can put up All-Star numbers. And according to his mom, Kuzma loves Washington AND the Wizards. After all, he won’t have to deal with the paparazzi like he probably did as a one-time Los Angeles Laker.
I disagree with the Wizards not trading Kuzma if it comes to that. There is still a good chance that he may sign with another team and leave Washington with “nothing” should he finish the season here. That said, I don’t blame the Wizards doing what they can to make him happy in the nation’s capital.