Kyle Kuzma Talks Trade Rumors, Possibly Signing Wizards Contract in Free Agency

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC -  JANUARY 21:  Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards talks to the media after the game against the Orlando Magic on January 21, 2023 at Capital One Arena 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by KeShawn Ennis /NBAE via Getty Images)
KeShawn Ennis /NBAE via Getty Images

Kyle Kuzma is no stranger to trade rumors. So he isn't sweating the NBA's Feb. 9 trade deadline, even after his teammate Rui Hachimura was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

"Nah," he told The Athletic's Josh Robbins when asked if he worries about the trade deadline. "I've been in trade talks five out of six years in my career. So, I've seen it. I've been through it. I understand it. I've been in trade rumors at the highest of the highest levels year after year. So, I'm numb to white noise and noise in general. I don't get rattled and I don't get bothered. I'm really an unbothered person at this point in my life."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Hachimura trade came in part because re-signing Kuzma this summer was a bigger priority for the Wizards than re-signing the traded power forward:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Hachimura and the Wizards were unable to agree on a rookie extension prior to the season and trade became more likely as Kyle Kuzma solidified himself as a priority to sign to a long-term deal in the Wizards front court.

While Kuzma's future is up in the air, he told The Athletic he'd consider re-signing in Washington.

"For sure. One hundred percent," he said. "They showed me love. They have allowed me to have a platform to show my game and show the league I'm not just a role player. I'm someone that's arriving right now. That's the biggest thing for me."

Arriving indeed. Kuzma, 27, is having a superb season, averaging career highs in points (21.8 PPG), assists (4.0 APG) and field-goal percentage (45.7 percent). He's emerged as a legitimate core piece for the Wizards alongside Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porziņģis, even as the team has struggled to a 20-26 record.

Injuries have played a part in that, however, as that Big Three have only been on the court together for 23 of Washington's 46 games this season.

The hope going forward is that Kuzma will have plenty of on-court time with his star teammates. The ascending forward is just grateful to feel wanted in Washington.

"It's like being wanted to be married, wanted to have a relationship. As a person, you love that, you feel love," he said. "You feel that and it makes you alive. It's a great thing, especially when you think of the landscape of this sport between teams and players. Players are gone year after year. There are such short stints now. For anybody to want to keep you long-term, that's a blessing.