The New York Knicks are reportedly among the suitors for Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma, who is expected to decline his player option to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Kuzma is having a breakout year, averaging a career-high 21.3 points on a 45.8 shooting percentage and 3.6 assists. He’s also grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game for the Wizards, who are limited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement on what it could offer on a veteran extension for Kuzma.
According to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, “the Wizards may gamble on their playoff hopes and that Kuzma will choose to stay. But Washington may desire players under greater team control via trade.”
He added the Phoenix Suns (Cam Johnson), Sacramento Kings (Harrison Barnes and Davion Mitchell), and the Knicks (Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and draft compensation) as the suitors for Kuzma.
Rival executives believe Kuzma is expected to approach in excess of $20 million to $25 million per year on a new deal next summer, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
“New York may be open to bigger deals that include Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, but only if it brings back players to help further the team’s playoff chances. Perhaps the Wizards would make a deal with enough draft compensation for Kuzma.”
Eric Pincus via B/R
But a direct swap of Kuzma for a Knicks package consisting of Rose, Quickley, and Toppin won’t make the math work. Only Rose and one of Quickley or Toppin could satisfy a trade. Perhaps the Wizards and Knicks could expand it to include more players from Washington.
Kuzma’s agent Austin Brown of CAA, also represents Toppin.
It will be interesting to see how the Wizards’ front office navigates Kuzma’s situation after viewing him as one of the franchise’s cornerstones moving forward. Kuzma might leave them without compensation once he hits free agency. But in the same token, it’s hard to see Kuzma enjoying the same freedom that he has with the Wizards in New York.
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