NBA Rumors: Wizards Want Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porziņģis to Sign New Contracts in FA

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 21: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards celebrates with Kyle Kuzma #33 after a play against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Capital One Arena on October 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. 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. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Washington Wizards are reportedly planning to re-sign both Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porziņģis to new contracts this offseason.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the decision to trade forward Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday for guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks stemmed from Washington wanting more financial flexibility to address the contracts of Kuzma and Porziņģis

Stein noted that Kuzma intends to decline his $13 million player option and become a free agent during the offseason, and a source close to the situation said that Porziņģis turning down his $36 million player option to become a free agent is a "prime option" as well.

Stein noted that the Wizards have "increasing confidence" in their ability to re-sign Kuzma, and have told inquiring teams that they plan to re-sign both Kuzma and Porziņģis.

While Washington is only 20-26 this season, there is some hope that the trio of Bradley Beal, Kuzma and Porziņģis will make the Wizards players in the Eastern Conference moving forward, especially if they can surround them with more quality pieces.

Beal has missed 20 games this season because of injury, and Porziņģis suffered an ankle injury in the Wizards' last game that will cause him to miss some time, so keeping all three on the court at the same time has been a challenge.

Kuzma was acquired as part of the trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Lakers prior to the 2021-22 season, and the 27-year-old forward has truly hit his stride this season.

In 45 games, Kuzma is averaging a career-high 21.8 points, 4.0 assists and 2.6 three-pointers made per game, plus his 7.6 rebounds per game is the second-best average of his career behind last year's 8.5.

Additionally, Kuzma has been more efficient than ever, shooting a career-best 45.7 percent from the field and a solid 34.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Porziņģis was also a recent trade acquisition, as Washington landed him in a deal that sent Spencer Dinwiddie to the Dallas Mavericks last season.

It seemed like an odd trade from Dallas' perspective at the time since Porziņģis was the No. 2 option behind Luka Dončić, and while Dinwiddie is enjoying a strong 2022-23 campaign, the Wizards still look like the winners of the deal.

Until the recent ankle injury, Porziņģis had been more healthy this season than at any time since the early part of his NBA career with the New York Knicks.

In 41 games this season, the Latvian big man is averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.9 three-pointers made and 1.5 blocks, making him one of the most productive all-around centers in the game.

Given his skill set, production and the fact that he is still just 27 years of age, Porziņģis stands to make big money in free agency, but Stein noted that he "likes his situation" in Washington.

The Wizards seemingly have the foundation of a strong team with three players performing at an All-Star level when healthy, so it comes as little surprise that they reportedly want to keep the core together and see if they can find the right mix of supporting-cast members to build something special in the nation's capital.