In what has to be considered the first surprising news of NBA free agency, the Washington Wizards have retained star forward Kyle Kuzma.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kuzma receives $102 million over four years to return to D.C.
The 27-year-old forward was expected to receive some strong play on the open market. However, he opted to return to a Wizards team that’s in rebuild mode following the trades of Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.
The expectation now is that Kuzma will team up with the recently acquired Jordan Poole to create a relatively young high-scoring tandem. After all, the former Los Angeles Lakers first-round pick is coming off a brilliant 2022-23 season for Washington.
Kyle Kuzma stats (2022-23): 21.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 45% shooting, 33% 3-point
This has to be considered Kuzma’s way of capitalizing on a career-best performance with a Brinks Truck rather than look to latch on with a contender.
The former Utah standout was initially acquired by Washington in the Russell Westbrook trade with the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. In two seasons with the Washington Wizards, he’s averaging 19.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG and 3.6 APG on 45% shooting from the field.
By retaining Kuzma, the Wizards have taken care of one of their main offseason priorities under new team president Michael Winger. As of right now, the core group in D.C. includes Kuzma, Poole, Tyus Jones and rookie Bilal Coulibaly.