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Kyle Kuzma intends on declining his player options, and the Washington Wizards now have a big decision to make

Kyle Kuzma is looking for a payday, and may be officially on the trade block after revealing his plans for the future
Kyle Kuzma

Kyle Kuzma

The NBA trade deadline is on the horizon, and Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is at the heart of the rumors.

Kuzma has a welcome addition to the Wizards

The Los Angeles Lakers shipped off Kuzma to D.C. following the 2021 campaign in a deal that included Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and draft compensation in exchange for triple-double machine Russell Westbrook and two second-rounders.

Since arriving in Washington, The 27-year-old has been fantastic, increasing his scoring average and efficiency in consecutive seasons. In year one, "Kuz" put up 17 points per game, and so far this season, he is averaging a career-best 21.4 points per night.

As a result of his improved production, Kuzma has become one of the more desirable assets on the trade market as contenders and playoff hopefuls look to bolster their size on the wing and overall scoring depth.

The Wizards need to make a decision

The chatter heated up overnight, as Ava Wallace of the Washington Post revealed Kuzma intends on declining his player option at the end of this season and test free agency this summer.

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Financially it makes sense for Kuzma, as the interest in the market and demand for his services guarantees a lucrative payday compared to his current $13 million average salary.

While the Wizards would be in the best position to offer him that contract, Bradley Beal is in the first year of his $251 million deal, and Kristaps Porzingis is also suiting up under max money.

In addition, paying Kuzma as a foundational piece moving forward may not fit their vision for both this season and beyond, as the franchise sit with an underwhelming 11-18 record and is outside of the playoff picture, and doesn't look like contending any time soon.

Now, the Wizards' front office has a tricky conundrum, as Kuzma has indirectly given them an ultimatum with his immediate future with the organization.

They're on the clock

We know that the Wizards will have a healthy selection of potential trade partners to choose from if they venture down that path.

To his credit, Kuzma has expressed that he would forego a substantial payday if it meant he would land at a championship favorite; unfortunately for him, those choices will likely be out of his control as the front office would opt for the largest haul available.

They are now on the clock and have to make the uncomfortable decision of seeing this season out and hoping Kuzma re-signs this offseason, deal him before the trade deadline, or risk losing him for absolutely nothing this summer. 

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