Wizards Rumors: Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis Long-Term Pieces Despite Trade Buzz

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2023

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 3: Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 3, 2023 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porziņģis could both become free agents this offseason, but the Washington Wizards want to keep the pair "long-term" to help build around Bradley Beal, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Scotto previously reported Kuzma is considered "a big part of the future" for Washington.

The Wizards entered Thursday with a 17-22 record, good for 11th in the Eastern Conference, which could potentially make them sellers ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline. However, the organization's plan is to keep Kuzma and Porziņģis, while even potentially adding a fourth core piece of the team, per Scotto.

Kuzma has already admitted he plans to test the open market this offseason rather than sign an extension with Washington.

"It's not a smart business move," he said in December, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "The max I can make if I sign right now is $15 [million]. If you look at the market, that's not market price."

Before he gets to that point, there is plenty of interest from around the league with Marc Stein saying the forward is "gettable." Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes reported last month the Los Angeles Lakers were looking into bringing back Kuzma:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Lakers have "inquired" about trading for Kyle Kuzma, per <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisBHaynes</a><br><br>(via B/R live show) <a href="https://t.co/RWPcDVG9Hv">pic.twitter.com/RWPcDVG9Hv</a>

The interest isn't surprising considering Kuzma is averaging a career-high 21.3 points per game this season, adding 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

The Wizards might not want to lose him, but it's a risky move passing up a trade when he could leave for nothing in the offseason.

Porziņģis could also have suitors while averaging 22.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season. Most importantly, he's stayed relatively healthy while playing 35 of 39 games so far in 2022-23. The 27-year-old hasn't played more than 60 games in a season since 2016-17.

The forward has a $36 million player option for next season, and he could be looking at an even bigger deal going forward if he remains productive.