Kyle Kuzma has been a hot name on the trade market, though the latest reports have indicated that the Wizards would prefer to keep him through the deadline in an attempt to re-sign him in free agency. The 27-year-old forward says he loves playing with Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal, and that will factor into his decision this summer.
“It plays into it a lot,” Kuzma told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter video link). “I love playing with those guys. I see how easy it is for me, but this is something I’m not really thinking about right now. I’m so far away from it.”
Here’s more from the Southeast:
- Markelle Fultz has made a major impact on the defensive end since he made his season debut at the end of November, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link). “Just playing hard man,” he said. “Just giving all my effort while I’m on the court. Whether that’s ball pressure or trying to dive on the floor for a loose ball, I’m just trying to find any little way to give our team an advantage.” Fultz is averaging a career-high 1.7 steals per contest, per Price, who notes that the 24-year-old doesn’t gamble much while playing disruptive defense. The Magic have gone 12-12 in games Fultz has played and 5-16 without him.
- Heat point guard Kyle Lowry recently returned from a four-game absence due to knee soreness. He says it’s been bothering him for a while, but hopes resting it resolved the issue, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It was good to just get myself right,” said Lowry. “My knee has been a little bit bothering me for a while. So it was good to get back. …I feel good. I feel pretty good right now and hopefully it doesn’t re-occur, and we just kind of build on that. You keep the body right and keep the mind sharp.”
- Hornets coach Steve Clifford is a fan of JT Thor‘s team-first mentality and defense, but he admits his rotations have the second-year forward in an unenviable position, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer relays. “The guy to be honest with you, who to a certain degree is getting screwed, is JT Thor,” Clifford said. “I’m subbing him in a way — and he knows it and his teammates know it — just so we can keep more balanced lineups on the floor. He’s playing four minutes sometimes, three minutes sometimes. You can’t possibly be productive offensively with those minutes. He gets the minutes, but the way they are broken up, there’s no way. When I told him that, he said, ‘Hey, I know this isn’t about me.’ So, that’s why he has a chance to be a good player.”