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Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma to decline player options with Wizards?

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Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma to decline player options with Wizards?
USA Today Network

Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma are expected to decline their player options with the Washington Wizards this offseason, per sources. Both players are considering the best course of action to benefit their NBA careers. Porzingis may decide to hit the open market.

If Porzingis declines his $36 million player option, the 7-foot-3 center will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The seven-year veteran is extension-eligible through June 30. For a four-year extension, Porzingis would have to decline his option.

Referring to a few NBA betting sites, the Wizards have a 7.5% chance of winning the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery. Check out which sportsbooks are showing a 14% probability for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets.

Kristaps Porzingis opting out would also help the Wizards re-sign Kuzma. Washington G.M. Tommy Sheppard is aiming to stay below the $162 million luxury tax. Kuzma will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason if he declines his $13 million player option.

If the 2020 NBA champ declines his 2023-24 option, the forward could sign a four-year, $70 million extension to remain with the team. However, Kuzma would likely receive higher offers as a free agent. Based on his breakout season with Washington, the Michigan native holds all the cards.

Will Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma decline their player options with the Washington Wizards this offseason?

Another possible scenario is Bradley Beal requesting a trade. The three-time All-Star signed a five-year, $251 million maximum extension with the Wizards last July. Beal’s cap hit this season is $43,279,250, which is 35% of the league’s cap. The guard will earn $46,741,590 next season.

Additionally, if Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma leave during free agency, that would open up $30 million in cap space. From a competitive standpoint, allowing both Porzingis and Kuzma to leave would be foolish for Washington. And just one of the two could end up receiving a new deal after everything is said and done.

More importantly, the Wizards haven’t made the playoffs since the 2020-21 season. Change is on the horizon. Through 65 starts this past regular season, Porzingis averaged career highs of 23.2 points and 32.6 minutes per game. Plus, the 27-year-old shot a career-best 49.8% from the floor and 38.5% beyond the arc.

Kuzma had an excellent season as well. The former Laker logged career highs of 21.2 points, 3.7 assists, and 45 minutes per contest. Not to mention, the wing shot 44.8% from the field and 33.3% from 3-point range.

Without receiving draft picks via a blockbuster trade, losing Kristaps Porzingis or Kyle Kuzma would hurt the Wizards’ future, especially considering Beal’s ridiculous deal.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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