After shedding two of their best players this offseason, the Washington Wizards are left with their third.
And now his direction is a little less obvious.
Kyle Kuzma has agreed to a four-year, $102 million contract with the Wizards, a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday. The deal comes on the heels of trades in which Washington agreed to send Bradley Beal to Phoenix and Kristaps Porzingis to Boston.
Kuzma opted out of a contract worth $13 million for next season, then received a much bigger deal when free agency began Friday. He averaged 21.2 points per game in 2022-23, when Washington missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
“DC let’s light the city up,” Kuzma said on his Instagram page Friday night.
Most of the deals can’t be finalized until July 6, so it may be a little while before Washington’s front office comments on a series of moves that certainly reshuffled the roster but ended up being something less than a deal. complete demolition.
Over the past two weeks, the Wizards have agreed to the following:
— Trading Beal to the Suns, with Chris Paul and Landry Shamet coming to Washington, then trading Paul to Golden State in a deal that brings Jordan Poole to the Wizards.
— Trading Porzingis to Boston in a three-team deal in which the Wizards acquired Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala.
— Keep Kuzma on a four-year contract.
— Trading Monte Morris to Detroit for a future second-round pick.
The Wizards haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1979, a year after their lone NBA title. They’ve had a handful of postseason appearances of late with the likes of John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Beal, but after back-to-back 35-win seasons, Washington hired Michael Winger as its new team president, replacing general manager Tommy Sheppard. .
Although there has been plenty of mediocrity in Washington, the Wizards haven’t won fewer than 25 games in a full 82-game season since 2011. Consequently, they haven’t been picking too close to the top of the draft. Washington traded a spot this year to nab 18-year-old Bilal Coulibaly at No. 7, a move that also seemed to indicate the Wizards were focused on the long term.
But if getting rid of Beal and Porzingis seemed like the start of a complete rebuild, keeping Kuzma — and even taking Poole, who is about to start a four-year, $128 million deal — sends a mixed message.
To be fair, it also means Washington’s potential rotation next season is worth a second look. A starting five from Jones, Poole, Kuzma, Deni Avdija and Daniel Gafford could be entertaining if nothing else, and the Wizards also have Corey Kispert, who shot 42% from 3-point range last season. There are some advantages now, at least on the offensive end.
If all that means is another 35-win season, it’s debatable whether Washington has made any real progress, but the 27-year-old Kuzma certainly won his big contract, and perhaps Poole can build on a fresh start after a tough postseason with the Warriors. There will surely be more moves to come as Winger and his front office try to shape the roster to his liking.
The Wizards have already made a lot of changes, but they’re not starting over.
subscribe to ASK MORE to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download from 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or inquiries, Contact Us.