Kuzma, who has a player option for the 2023-24 season, is expected to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent.
Kyle Kuzma is expected to decline his $13.0M player option with the Wizards and become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Potential suitors for Kuzma could include the Pacers, Rockets, Spurs, Kings, and Jazz. A reunion with the Lakers is also a looming possibility.
— Jake Weinbach (@JWeinbachNBA) June 18, 2023
Kuzma spent the first four seasons of his NBA career with the Lakers, winning a title with the team in the 2019-20 season. He was dealt to Washington as part of the deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Lakers.
The Lakers likely would have to work a sign-and-trade to bring in Kuzma, since they don’t have the cap space to sign him outright at the contract he could command in the open market.
During the 2022-23 season, Kuzma averaged a career high 21.2 points per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. He also contributed 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
With Bradley Beal appearing in just 50 games for the Wizards, Kuzma had a lot of chances to lead the team’s offense (alongside Kristaps Porzingis) in the 2022-23 season.
There’s no doubt that Kuzma fit in well on the Lakers’ championship team in the 2019-20 season, but he’d likely have to accept a slightly smaller offensive role to return to the franchise that he began his career with.
Still, the Lakers – if they find a way to bring Kuzma back – could play him in the frontcourt alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the starting lineup.
The issue for the Lakers would be teams like Houston and San Antonio that have cap space to sign Kuzma to a bigger contract outright without the help of a sign-and-trade. Los Angeles would have to find pieces – and likely draft capital – that are valuable to the Wizards to orchestrate a deal for the former Lakers forward.
If Washington does trade Beal, it may be more inclined to move on from Kuzma to begin a rebuilding stage.
The Lakers clearly are exploring their options to improve in the offseason after making the Western Conference Finals in the 2022-23 campaign.