The Washington Wizards have their sights set on keeping Kyle Kuzma. The 27-year-old forward does have a year left on his deal, but also has an opt-out clause that he’s all but surely going to execute to secure himself a bigger deal.
Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is reportedly angling to be the team that gives him said deal, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Zach Harper.
“Because of salary limitations imposed by the collective bargaining agreement on veteran contract extensions, Kuzma is on track to decline his $13 million player option for the 2023-24 season and become an unrestricted free agent, though there is mutual interest in a new deal from both sides.”
The CBA rules limit the ceiling of any extension to just 8 percent in annual raises. Given that his current salary of $13 million per year is far below market value for a versatile 20-point scorer in his prime like Kyle Kuzma, an extension isn’t a realistic option.
The Wizards are going nowhere fast. For a team that was conspicuously trying to make the playoffs – or even just the play-in tournament – few teams fell further flat on their face than the Wiz.
Barring a semi-miraculous close to the season, Washington isn’t likely to make the play-in tournament. Despite what’s looking like back-to-back seasons of falling out of the postseason race, the Wizards are still looking to lock in their existing core. Bradley Beal is already signed for the next half decade and a deal with Kristaps Porzingis is reportedly in the works.
Rumors around the NBA have painted the Wizards interested in retaining Kuzma and Porzingis throughout the year. But you’d think that their assessment would be dynamically dependent on how promising the team’s prospects are. Despite yet another likely lottery finish – their fourth in the last five years – the Wiz are staying the course.
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