ESPN3 minutes to read
Kuzma is expected to be one of the standouts hitting free agency this summer after averaging a career high of 21.2 points to close in on 7.2 rebounds.
He told reporters in April that he was considering returning to Washington, his home since the 2021-22 season after spending four title-winning seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s 100 percent an option… I had a great time here,” Kuzma said of Washington. “I’ve greatly upped my game here, and there are good people here. I’d be a fool to say it’s not an option for me.”
But things changed for the Wizards after the end of last season. General manager Tommy Sheppard was let go, and the franchise hired former Clippers GM Michael Winger to be president of Monumental Sports and reshape the organization. The team also made a deal to send Bradley Bell, the face of the franchise for the past several years, to Phoenix.
The 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma hit the ground running, averaging nearly 19 points per game in his sophomore season before curtailing his game when Anthony Davis joined the Lakers. But less than two years after helping Los Angeles win the title as a reserve in 2020, Kuzma was sent to Washington as part of a trade for Russell Westbrook.
Kuzma said his goal in free agency is to go to a place where he can be the best version of himself.
“I try to get better every year,” Kuzma said in April. “It’s not about the money, I’ll get paid no matter where [I go] this too. It’s about being able to come to work every day and be the best version of myself, can I help lead players, can I improve other players, can I light up rooms? All of those things are important when you’re trying to be successful.”
ESPN’s Ohm Yongmisuk contributed to this story.
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