Kyle Kuzma will be firmly on the wrong side of 30 years old when the Washington Wizards are finally ready to compete for their next playoff berth. As the trade deadline dawns, though, that seemingly inevitable reality apparently hasn't caused the Wizards to lower their “high asking price” in a potential deal for the veteran forward. Will the Sacramento Kings meet it regardless, filling a longstanding hole in the team's foundational nucleus next to De'Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Keegan Murray?

Sacramento's interest in paying top dollar for Kuzma will reportedly go a long way toward informing his future beyond February 8th. Though he remains “at the top” of the Kings' trade deadline wish list, Washington is “comfortable” retaining Kuzma past the trade deadline, according to ClutchPoints' Brett Siegel.

“There has been continued dialogue across the league suggesting that Kyle Kuzma is at the top of the Sacramento Kings target list. While they did explore the possibility of pursuing Kuzma with the Wizards in January, no real deal materialized,” Siegel reported on Tuesday. “The Kings have first-round draft picks in 2026, 2028, and 2030 that can be dealt, although they can't trade any pick until two years after their obligation to the Atlanta Hawks is fulfilled. The Hawks own the Kings' 2024 first-round pick with top-14 protections. Pertaining to Kuzma, the Wizards still maintain their high asking price. Washington is more than comfortable holding onto the 28-year-old past the NBA trade deadline, especially since he is a player they still envision as a focal point in their rebuild.”

Should Kings pay up for Kyle Kuzma at trade deadline?

Kuzma trade, Kyle Kuzma, Wizards, Kings, De'aaron fox

Competing agendas from teams, competing front offices and player agents must be taken into account when assessing the viability of all player-movement rumors, but especially those leading up to the trade deadline. Recent intel on Kuzma suggests Washington has not only put a steep price tag on acquiring, but the team also isn't actively trying to move him due to the mutual interest of both parties continuing their partnership past 2023-24.

“Kyle Kuzma in Washington, they are not trying to trade him, he’s happy, listen they love Kyle Kuzma,” ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on The Woj Podo. “He really likes that organization, signed that extension this summer. He loves being in DC, he’s not angling to get out of there.”

What benefit would Michael Winger, Will Dawkins and the Wizards' front office glean from telegraphing otherwise? Pretty much every win-now team in basketball could use an experienced forward who theoretically doesn't take anything off the table on either side of the ball. Kuzma would definitely be an upgrade on Harrison Barnes next to Murray on the wing, and his declining long-term contract isn't nearly as onerous from a financial standpoint as it seems on the surface.

But giving up a pair of first-round picks for Kuzma would leave the Kings bereft of future assets moving forward, and he certainly isn't the star who would help them level up toward top-tier contention in the Western Conference. Kuzma may not even be the impact role player in Sacramento that Washington's asking price suggests.

He's hitting an ugly 33.5% on catch-and-shoot triples, per, right in line with career norms that paint Kuzma as more of a streaky three-point shooter than reliable one. The 28-year-old is also ill-suited to be a good team's best wing defender, a role in which Murray has turned heads this season but remains less than ideal for both he and the Kings—especially as the sophomore's usage projects to trend up going forward.

Adding Kuzma would make Sacramento better this season and going forward. But Mike Brown's team sports a net rating of just +0.5, hardly indicating it's just one solid starter at forward away from competing for a championship come June.

If a pair of first-rounders really is what it will take for them to pry Kuzma from Washington at the trade deadline, wouldn't the Kings be better off playing out the season's remainder, re-assessing the roster and trade market this summer and then make another run at Kuzma rather than pushing most of their chips in right now? Sacramento's ownership might be too starved for playoff success to take that more patient, prudent approach into the offseason.

Keep close tabs on Kuzma's status over the next 48 hours. If he's not traded to the Kings by Thursday afternoon, it looks ever likely he'll remain in Washington, subject to yet another trade song-and-dance this summer.