Kyle Kuzma is coming off a 2022-23 campaign with the Washington Wizards that saw him put up career-best numbers.
Thanks to the fact that he was playing the most minutes he had ever received, 35 per night, the 27-year-old averaged 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Plus, in addition to his on-the-court heroics, Kuzma turned into a major star off it as well. There’s a reason his and his girlfriend’s wild photos nearly melted the internet last month.
All of that set Kuzma up perfectly for this summer, when he has a player option that could pay him $13 million in 2023-24. Rather than utilizing that, however – he will opt out and test the market.
All signs point to Kuzma commanding at minimum $20 million per year.
Given that Dillon Brooks is seeking $25 million annually and still has teams knocking down his door, Kuzma’s target pay doesn’t seem all that outlandish.
If Kuzma does leave, three potential suitors for his services have emerged.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the New York Knicks are a team to watch.
“Other big names suggested as potential Knicks targets include Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma (expected to be a free agent this summer) and OG Anunoby,” he wrote recently.
Kuzma’s offensive prowess could serve New York well, especially given how much they struggled to score at certain points this season. That said, he, Beal and Anunoby all bring very different skillsets to the table. So it’s just a matter of what the Knicks want to prioritize this offseason.
The Utah Jazz have also been linked to Kuzma. As noted by Dan Favale of B/R, Kuzma would fit with the current roster quite seamlessly.
“The Jazz don’t need to prioritize a slow-burn rebuild with so many rival first-rounders under their belt,” he wrote.
“They can look to actively plug holes in the rotation and render themselves peskier irritants in the short term … Kuzma accomplishes just this. He isn’t the most scintillating shooter, but Utah deploys spacey lineups that can capitalize on his attacking inside the arc…
“Attainability could be an issue, but not an unworkable one. The Jazz can try paying Kuzma outright or brokering a sign-and-trade with Washington. And after playing three seasons at the University of Utah, his familiarity with the market could lend a helping hand.”
If not the Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers are a squad to monitor as well. Obviously there is a lot of history there, and Kuzma seems to continue to have a fondness for the organization. As was proven continuously throughout L.A.’s postseason run, the team desperately needs players who can create their own offense.
Kuzma is definitely that.
Another reason to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars next season. https://t.co/DSyE5Jz54T
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 5, 2023
There is also a scenario where Kuzma remains in D.C., just on a significantly bigger deal. According to Pincus, there is “buzz” that he will remain with the Wizards – but obviously everything is fluid at this juncture.
This is shaping up to be a fascinating summer. Between all the teams vying to acquire Alex Caruso and the three squads jockeying to steal Jordan Clarkson away from the Jazz, a lot of questions regarding player value and team plans will be answered over the next few months.
Where will Kuzma ultimately end up playing come the beginning of next season? Time will tell.