Kyle Kuzma

Pacific Notes: Booker, Wood, Hood-Schifino, Queta

Suns star Devin Booker appears ready to commit to the U.S. Olympic team no matter what role he’s asked to play, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Booker expressed his intentions this week in a Twitter exchange with Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. “USA basketball better get some nba stars that know how to play a role,” Kuzma wrote. “Anybody can be nice with the ball in their hands but can you be cool with defending and going to the corner for a few possessions?”

Booker responded, “I’ll do it.”

Rankin notes that Booker accepted that responsibility two years ago when the U.S. won the gold medal in China. He only averaged 9.3 PPG during that Olympics, but he often guarded the opponent’s best scorer.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Christian Wood projects to play a significant role for the Lakers, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Wood will become the primary backup to Anthony Davis at center and can expect to see a lot of time at power forward as well. Buha adds that L.A. has a lot of interchangeable frontcourt players, with Wood, LeBron James, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and Taurean Prince all capable of handling either forward spot, while Davis, Wood and Jaxson Hayes can play either the four or five.
  • Lakers rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino has been working to develop his three-point shot this summer, Buha adds in a separate story. The No. 17 pick connected at just 33% from beyond the arc at Indiana last season. “I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “Being in the gym every day, getting up a lot of reps, working on my footwork, my form, mechanics and everything. Getting everything sharp. That’s definitely been a strong point and something that I’ve been really attacking every day.”
  • Neemias Queta, who was waived by the Kings this week, could be an intriguing option for the Warriors, suggests Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Johnson notes the 24-year-old center is still eligible for a two-way contract and Golden State has two slots open. Queta was runner-up in the G League’s MVP voting after averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game with the Stockton Kings. Johnson also points out that Seth Cooper and David Fatoki, who are now in charge of the Warriors’ player development system, got a close look at Queta last year while running Golden State’s G League team.

Eastern Notes: Kuzma, Coulibaly, Walker, Schröder

With his new four-year, $90MM contract in hand, Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma achieved his rookie goal of earning more than $100MM in his NBA career, he tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Kuzma has earned about $34.5MM through six seasons to this point.

The 27-year-old says he’s ready to take on the responsibility he’ll be given after the team traded away Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, making Kuzma one of the faces of the franchise.

It’s dope. That’s all I wanted. I’m hyped,” Kuzma said. “It’s just a great feeling. How many people in their lifetime can say they’re the face of the franchise? Someone that can help steer the direction of franchise for years to come. Yeah. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So, I’m just extremely grateful for it.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • Wizards lottery pick Bilal Coulibaly appears to be uncommonly grounded for an 18-year-old who just became a multimillionaire, which could portend well for his development, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “He’s a great kid,” said Summer League coach Landon Tatum. “He listens to anything you say. He’s also a guy that can take the information we give him, especially if he’s wrong, and understand right away that he’s made the mistake. Being an NBA player, it’s all about how quickly you can correct yourself sometimes, not so much the coaches (correcting you), and he’s a guy that does it really well.”
  • Lonnie Walker spoke on Tuesday about why he chose to sign with the Nets in free agency, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “(I saw) opportunity, understanding this is a very young core group looking to build, looking to grow, and I fit perfectly with the fellas that’s amongst the team as far as Cam (Johnson) and Mikal Bridges,” Walker said. “Off the court we have similar outlooks on life, and on the court we play very well. Our chemistry as far as growth and becoming a very special team is going to be something really nice.” Walker received a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, according to Lewis.
  • Dennis Schröder‘s preexisting relationship with new head coach Darko Rajakovic factored into the veteran guard signing a two-year, $25.4MM deal with the Raptors, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Schröder also spoke about what he’ll bring to the club. “This year, I wanted a situation where I could handle the ball a little bit more … and I think with my teammates now, the length we have and how we can defend and the style we have is a great situation for me … being a veteran out there, making sure the young guys can be great,” Schröder said. “I have proven over the years I can be a starting point guard. (And) with those young guys who are really talented, Scottie Barnes, (OG) Anunoby and the other guys, I think we can be competitive and that’s what I’m about.”

Wizards Notes: Kuzma, Poole, Rebuilding, Van Gundy

After trading Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, the Wizards have decided to build their future around Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Both players were part of championship teams early in their careers, and Hughes points out that they were able to learn the game from NBA legends.

It appeared Washington’s new management team might opt for a full rebuild, but the Wizards made a strong push to keep Kuzma, who signed a four-year deal worth at least $90MM. The 27-year-old forward said he received indications that the franchise wanted to re-sign him during his exit interview with chairman Ted Leonsis.

“Ted (made) an emphasis that he wanted me to be here, I knew that,” Kuzma said. “I think over my past two years here I’ve been very transparent as a person. The whole entire organization from Ted, the past regime and then the new regime, they’re very transparent people, too. I never really had much to worry about on that front. I still wanted to go through the process. I think and believe I made the right decision.”

Poole, who’s about to start the first year of the extension he signed with Golden State, feels fortunate to have entered the league on a team that had Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

“Those are the two greatest shooters of all time in my opinion, personally,” he said. “There’s just things that you learn in practice, on the road that you wouldn’t be able to learn not being in the mix. I’m thankful for that.” 

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • During a press conference Saturday, Poole deflected questions about the end of his relationship with the Warriors and about being punched by Draymond Green, relays Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’re in Washington now,” Jordan Poole told reporters. “Playing with (Kuzma) now, great duo. Being able to really flourish, expand your game. Like I said, it’s a new team with an entirely new group of guys. It’s a challenge that we’re up for. We have a new front office and a lot of people are invested. Everybody is locked in and wants to be here to start something we can have that should be special.”
  • Wizards officials are focused on creating a positive culture around the team, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Sources tell Robbins that the front office won’t consider a full rebuilding project for at least two years. They re-signed Kuzma and brought in Poole and Tyus Jones to help develop first-round pick Bilal Coulibaly and give the team a strong foundation to build around. Robbins adds that the best draft class on the horizon appears to be in 2026, and the Wizards might consider bottoming out to take advantage of that, depending how the current plan works.
  • If Jeff Van Gundy decides to return to coaching, there’s “some mutual interest” with the Wizards, who have openings on Wes Unseld Jr.‘s staff, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

Wizards Sign Kyle Kuzma To Four-Year Contract

JULY 8: The Wizards have officially re-signed Kuzma, per Josh Robbins and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to The Athletic’s duo, Kuzma’s four-year deal will actually be worth $90MM guaranteed, with $6MM in unlikely incentives tied to team performance. It won’t contain any team or player options, but it will feature a 15% trade kicker, Robbins and Charania add (via Twitter). It will also have a descending structure, starting at $25.6MM and eventually dipping to $19.4MM by year four.

JUNE 30: The Wizards and forward Kyle Kuzma have agreed to a four-year, $102MM deal that will keep him in Washington, agent Austin Brown tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Kuzma is coming off a career year, averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on .448/.333/.730 shooting in 64 games last season (35.0 minutes). His points, assists and minutes per game all represented career highs.

A former late first-round pick (27th overall in 2017), Kuzma won a championship with the Lakers in 2019/20, having spent his first four seasons in Los Angeles. He was sent to the Wizards in the summer of 2021 as part of the Russell Westbrook trade.

It’s an interesting transaction for both Kuzma and the Wizards, who have drastically remade their roster after trading Bradley Beal (to Phoenix) and Kristaps Porzingis (to Boston). Kuzma was looking for a major payday after declining his $13MM player option for 2023/24, and he found a nine-figure deal to remain with Washington.

Kuzma, alongside former Warriors guard Jordan Poole (whom the team acquired for Chris Paul), figures to be a major part of the Wizards’ offense in ’23/24. When engaged, he’s also a solid defensive player, and is still developing in other areas.

Still, it remains to be seen whether or not Kuzma will be in Washington’s long-term plans. The team’s front office — led by president Michael Winger — was completely revamped, so time will tell how they’ll choose to build out the roster.

Rory Maher contributed to this story.

Eastern FA Rumors: Kuzma, Kyrie, Bridges, Crowder, Sixers

Free agent forward Kyle Kuzma is seeking a contract “well above the mid-level exception,” according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but it’s unclear which cap-room team might give him that sort of offer, especially if the Rockets and Pacers use their space on other players.

As Fischer writes, the Jazz were viewed as a legitimate suitor for Kuzma, but that option is almost certainly off the table following Utah’s deal for John Collins. People around the league have begun to consider it increasingly likely that Kuzma could re-sign with the Wizards, according to Fischer. While the Wizards are in the process of reshaping their roster, they’ll have Kuzma’s Bird rights and could view him as a future tradable asset as long as they don’t overpay him.

Here are more free agent rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Following up on a report stating that Kyrie Irving had the Heat on his list of teams to meet with in free agency, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link) cites a source who says the Heat have no meeting scheduled with the star point guard. Irving will, however, meet with the Rockets, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Interestingly, Fischer writes that the Hornets “don’t appear to have a straightforward path to re-sign” restricted free agent forward Miles Bridges. According to Fischer, Bridges and his representatives have broached the idea of Charlotte pulling its qualifying offer to make him unrestricted. Based on Fischer’s report, it sounds like Bridges’ camp may not feel confident about its leverage in talks with the Hornets entering the summer. The forward isn’t eligible to be signed-and-traded because he wasn’t on Charlotte’s roster last season.
  • Although Jae Crowder is considered likely to re-sign with the Bucks, the veteran forward has also drawn interest from the Heat, league sources tell Fischer.
  • While the Sixers may be fairly quiet at the start of free agency, it’s possible it won’t take the team long to come to an agreement with restricted free agent Paul Reed, according to Kyle Neubeck of The team’s odds of bringing back Georges Niang, Jalen McDaniels, or Shake Milton don’t appear as strong. A source tell Neubeck that Niang may get “a nice chunk of money” from a rival suitor on the first day of free agency. Milton is unlikely to return to Philadelphia, while McDaniels’ free agency could take some time to play out, Neubeck adds.

Rockets Rumors: Free Agents, Martin, Clarkson, Capela

Rockets officials hope to meet with several of their top targets in Los Angeles when free agency begins in a few hours, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Sources tell Iko that Houston has already set up meetings with Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez and will try to arrange sessions with Fred VanVleet, Kyrie Irving, Bruce Brown, Dwight PowellJakob Poeltl and possibly Kyle Kuzma.

Brown is of particular interest because the Rockets would be willing to go above the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign him, according to Iko’s sources. Head coach Ime Udoka was an assistant in Brooklyn when Brown played there and they have maintained a good relationship, Iko adds.

With more than $60MM in cap space, Houston officials are confident about signing their main targets, according to Iko, although some may prefer teams with more recent success. He confirms that the Rockets are hoping to avoid long-term contracts and will compensate by offering players more money up front than they’re likely to get elsewhere. Shooting, defense and rim protection will be the main focus, Iko states.

There’s more on the Rockets, all courtesy of Iko:

  • Houston is hoping to land a veteran point guard in free agency, but there’s a back-up plan if they can’t sign VanVleet, Irving or someone of that stature. Sources tell Iko that the Rockets would pursue someone like Brown, a strong perimeter defender who can handle the ball, and give Jalen Green and first-round pick Amen Thompson a greater share of the playmaking duties.
  • Iko hears that a Kenyon Martin Jr. trade is increasingly likely, as talks with other teams have increased throughout the week. Martin may not have a place on the revamped roster, and the team could add cap room by unloading his $1.93MM contract for next season.
  • Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson and Hawks center Clint Capela are two names to watch if the Rockets opt to use their cap space through trades rather than free agency. Iko notes that Utah executive Danny Ainge is reported to have interest in acquiring Martin and suggests that Houston might be willing to include second-year point guard TyTy Washington and maybe a second-round pick in a potential deal. Iko points out that Clarkson is eligible for an extension after picking up his $14.26MM option for next season and says the Rockets may offer something along the lines of $32MM over two years. Iko adds that Capela could be available straight up for Martin as Atlanta tries to shed salary.

Warriors Rumors: Green, DiVincenzo, Kuminga, Poole, Paul, Thompson

The Warriors are optimistic about re-signing Draymond Green and have been discussing a three-year deal with his representatives, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Slater says trading for Chris Paul was a win-now move that the team wouldn’t have made without a level of confidence that Green will return. He projects a new contract for Green starting close to the range of the $27.6MM player option that he declined, but adds that every $1MM the Warriors can save is important because of their inflated tax bill.

There may not have been a realistic market for Green in free agency, Scotto adds. The Kings were floated as a possibility because their head coach is former Warriors assistant Mike Brown, but Scotto points out that they’re hoping to sign Kyle Kuzma and had to work out a new deal with Harrison Barnes. The Pistons and Grizzlies were also mentioned, but Slater states that Memphis dropped out of consideration with the Marcus Smart trade.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Donte DiVincenzo is expected to sign elsewhere and may be able to land a non-taxpayer MLE, which would be more than twice what Golden State can offer him, according to Scotto. Sources tell C.J. Holmes of The San Franciso Chronicle that the Knicks have emerged as the favorite to land DiVincenzo, who prefers to play on the East Coast and is hoping to receive a contract starting at $9-12MM. However, Scotto isn’t convinced that DiVincenzo would be a good fit in New York considering the number of guards already on the roster.
  • The Pacers were among the teams that inquired on Jonathan Kuminga, offering mainly draft assets in return, sources tell Scotto. Slater also cites interest from the Raptors and says Golden State began asking about OG Anunoby before the trade deadline. However, Slater doesn’t believe the Warriors have been shopping Kuminga, saying the organization still has confidence in him and he’ll likely be on the team when next season begins.
  • The decision to part with Jordan Poole in the trade for Paul was necessary to unload his contract, but coach Steve Kerr welcomed the chance to move on from a player who was fourth in the league in turnovers last season and often took poor shots, Slater states. Slater envisions Paul as the leader of the second unit, helping to develop young players such as Kuminga and Moses Moody.
  • Getting rid of Poole’s contract increases the chances for a Klay Thompson extension, according to Slater. Paul’s $30MM salary for 2024/25 is non-guaranteed, so more long-term money is available for Thompson. Slater doesn’t believe the Warriors have started negotiating a salary with Thompson yet, but he expects the veteran guard will have to accept a reduction from his current $43MM.

Free Agent Rumors: Brown, Mavs, Lakers, Gordon, Yurtseven, Kuzma, Barnes

Unrestricted free agent Nuggets forward Bruce Brown plans to meet with the Mavericks at the start of free agency on Friday, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).

Many teams appear primed to pursue Brown, according to MacMahon (Twitter link), who anticipates his market to be around the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, if not higher. The Lakers are one suitor said to be confident about their chances. MacMahon adds that Brown may be open to taking a discount to return to the champs, who only have his Non-Bird rights available, which would cap them at a $7.8MM offer for next season.

The 6’4″ vet proved invaluable as a versatile, defense-first sixth man during Denver’s 16-4 run to the title this spring. Across 20 playoff games off the bench, he averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.5 BPG.

Here are more of the latest free agent rumors from around the league:

  • After opting not to retain shooting guard Malik Beasley and center Mohamed Bamba, the Lakers now project to remain well below the $172MM tax apron for 2023/24, which will enable them to use the full $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN, suggesting that Brown and Brook Lopez will be among Los Angeles’ targets. According to McMenamin (via Twitter), the Lakers may also consider adding more than one player with its mid-level exception money. In that scenario, point guard Dennis Schröder and shooting guard Eric Gordon could be targets, sources tell McMemamin.
  • Gordon is looking to land with a contender that will have a defined rotation gig for his services, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Beyond the Lakers, sources tell The Athletic that the Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Suns, and Trail Blazers have some interest.
  • After declining to tender a qualifying offer to center Omer Yurtseven, the Heat don’t appear to be focused on trying to re-sign him to a minimum-salary deal, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). “We’re grateful we got a chance to be there,” agent Keith Glass said, per Jackson. “We’ll try to find a place that values him and helps him reach his potential.”
  • Free agent power forward Kyle Kuzma appears more likely to end up with the Rockets than the Kings, but Sacramento shouldn’t be ruled out entirely as a Kuzma landing spot, per James Ham of Kings Beat. Sources inform Ham that the Kings’ own incumbent free agent starting power forward, Harrison Barnes, is hoping to earn a deal that pays him $20MM annually.

Rockets Frontrunner For Kyle Kuzma?

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report hears from league sources who say the Rockets have momentum on a possible deal for free agent forward Kyle Kuzma, who declined his $13MM player option last week to hit the open market.

Sacramento radio host Carmichael Dave was first to report the Rockets were the frontrunner to land Kuzma (Twitter link).

The veteran forward has also been linked to the Pacers and Kings, two other teams with cap room. It seems like those teams are pursuing other targets instead (Max Strus for Indiana and re-signing or extending Harrison Barnes for Sacramento).

Kuzma was first linked to the Rockets by Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports earlier this month. Houston has the most cap room in the league (around $60MM) and intends to be aggressive in free agency in an effort to start winning games.

However, Marc Stein recently reported that the Rockets were expected to use nearly all of their cap room to sign free agents Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks. It’s unclear if that means Kuzma is a fallback option or if they plan to pursue all three players. Landing all three would almost certainly require a sign-and-trade for one of them unless someone is taking a below-market deal.

Kuzma, who turns 28 next month, averaged a career-best 21.2 points per game in 64 contests (35.0 MPG) this past season, posting a shooting line of .448/.333/.730 and contributing 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per night.

He would be a curious fit with the Rockets, who already have Jabari Smith, Tari Eason, Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate at the two forward spots and drafted Cam Whitmore in the first round last week. That list doesn’t include Brooks either, another player who primarily plays forward.

Kings Rumors: Barnes, FA Targets, Kuzma, Lyles, Sabonis

Harrison Barnes‘ departure from Sacramento this offseason appears increasingly likely, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who identifies the Pacers as a “strong contender” to sign the Kings‘ free agent forward.

As previously reported, Barnes’ connections to Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton and head coach Rick Carlisle could make Indiana an appealing landing spot for him. Fischer says Barnes is close with Haliburton, who played with him in Sacramento, and has support from Carlisle, who coached him in Dallas.

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Sacramento’s decision to trade Richaun Holmes and the No. 24 pick in Thursday’s draft to Dallas in order to generate additional cap room has rival executives speculating that the Kings have a specific move in mind for free agency, says Fischer. While Khris Middleton and Draymond Green have been floated as possible targets, those veterans are considered likely to remain with the Bucks and Warriors, respectively, according to Fischer, who hears that the Trail Blazers and Pistons may nonetheless make a run at Green.
  • The name gaining the most traction as a possible Kings free agent target is Kyle Kuzma, according to Fischer. The Jazz‘s trade for John Collins should take a rival suitor for Kuzma off the market, Fischer explains, since Utah is unlikely to pursue another significant frontcourt piece in free agency after adding Collins.
  • Besides using their $33MM+ in cap room to pursue Kuzma, the Kings will also likely look to bring back free agent forward Trey Lyles and renegotiate and extend Domantas Sabonis‘ contract, Fischer reports, estimating that a new deal for Sabonis could be worth in the neighborhood of $120MM over four years.