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Washington Wizards in contract extension talks with star player

At 34-42 on the season, the Washington Wizards have some work to do in order to even qualify for the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Washington has been injured-plagued throughout the 2022-23 season, likely leading to another non-playoff campaign for the struggling franchise.

Despite Washington’s overall mediocrity, one player in that of Kristaps Porzingis has upped his game big time thus far this season. Formerly known as the Unicorn dating back to his days with the New York Knicks, the 7-foot-3 Porzingis has looked very much the part of a franchise cornerstone in 2022-23.

  • Kristaps Porzingis stats: 23.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 50% shooting, 39% 3-point

This performance has Porzingis likely to opt out of his $36 million option for the 2023-24 season and hit free agency during the summer. The good news for fans in D.C. is that the Wizards and Porzingis are in serious discussions about a contract extension.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the idea would be for Porzingis to opt out of his contract and re-sign with Washington during the summer.

Related: Washington Wizards pick in Sportsnaut’s NBA mock draft

Analyzing a potential Kristaps Porzingis contract with the Washington Wizards

washington wizards, kristaps porzingis contract
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington can offer Porzingis a four-year, $180 million max contract once he opts out of his deal. That $45 million per season would represent a significant raise for the former No. 4 overall pick from Latvia.

From a Washington Wizards perspective, signing Porzingis would commit north of $92 million to two players. Remember, star guard Bradley Beal inked a massive contract extension with the organization back in July of last year.

The other backdrop here is forward Kyle Kuzma’s status as a pending free agent. He will decline his mere $13 million player option for next season and is likely looking at north of $30 million annually on a new deal.

Like Porzingis, Kuzma has enjoyed himself a great individual 2022-23 season. The 27-year-old forward is averaging a career-high 21.2 points to go with 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the campaign. Washington is said to be highly interested in retaining him long-term, too.

The question for Wizards front office head Tommy Sheppard is rather obvious. Does he believe this core three is capable of contending back east when fully healthy? Beal has missed 26 games to injury with Porzingis sitting out 11 games and Kuzma missing 12 himself this season.