This upcoming offseason will be monumental for the Wizards. They have to handle their own free agents, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma, while also prepping for a draft in which they have three picks, including eighth overall.
New Monumental Basketball President Michael Winger will have a lot to keep him busy, and it all starts this month. Here are some dates to keep in mind as the NBA offseason kicks into gear:
June 21: Opt-in deadline for Porzingis and Kuzma
Kristaps Porzingis ($36 million) and Kyle Kuzma ($13 million) have players options for next season. If they opt-in, they’ll get paid their respective salaries for next season and become unrestricted free agents in 2024. Essentially, they would be betting on themselves having breakout seasons and earning even bigger paydays next summer. The deadline for their decisions: June 21.
Most people expect them to opt out and become free agents this summer. Both players are coming off terrific seasons in which they reached career-highs in many categories. This is a good time to lock in lucrative long-term contracts.
Porzingis, an injury-prone player, can decline one year at $36 million to guarantee himself $90+ million over the next few seasons. The choice seems pretty clear to me.
As for Kuzma, he’s paid his dues. The Wizards forward put up 20 ppg last season while earning $13 million, a salary that didn’t match his production. I’m sure Kuz understands this is his time to get paid, so declining his player option and hitting the open market is the smart decision.
This deadline is a formality at this point. Both players are going to opt-out of their current contracts and become free agents. The true question is: Will they stay with Washington, or will another team pry them away?
June 22: NBA Draft
The 2023 Draft kicks off at 8:00 p.m. in Chicago. The Wizards hold three picks:
Winger will lead a retooled front office in selecting a player that either fits this current roster, or one that fits a rebuild, depending on the direction he chooses to take this team.
Notable names linked to the Wizards at pick No. 8 include:
- PG Anthony Black
- PG Cason Wallace
- SG Gradey Dick
- SG Keyonte George
- PF Jarace Walker
- PF Taylor Hendricks
It’s unclear which direction they’ll go in, but there’s likely to be talent available at pick 8, no matter who gets drafted before the Wizards pick.
June 30: Legal negotiating period begins
This is the unofficial start of the new league year. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents from other teams. No signing will become official until the new league year begins on July 6. Free agents can meet with interested parties to negotiate contracts and test the market.
For reference: Bradley Beal opted out of his contract and signed a $251 million supermax extension with the Wizards last year on June 30, the first day he could sign. So, expect thing to move quickly once June 30 comes around.
Wizards’ free agents:
- F Kyle Kuzma
- C Kristaps Porzingis
- G Kendrick Nunn
- C Taj Gibson
I don’t expect the team to retain Gibson or Nunn. However, there’s been reported interest in a Porzingis return. As for Kuzma, he’s been vocal in wanting to meet with teams and get the full free agent experience. As he should, he’ll do his due diligence to find the best offer for him.
If the Wizards come to any agreements on June 30, expect it to be a Porzingis extension. If not, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what Winger has up his sleeve.