The Washington Wizards are only a game back from the 10th seed and final play-in spot despite their 18-24 record following a putrid 10-game losing streak earlier this year. Amid Bradley Beal’s injury woes, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis have kept the Wizards afloat. However, the Wizards could end up losing Kuzma for nothing, with the 27-year old forward set to enter unrestricted free agency for the first team in his career should he decline his player option.

Nevertheless, the Wizards remain hellbent on keeping Kyle Kuzma beyond this season, as they have rebuffed overtures on a potential trade for John Collins centered on the former member of the Los Angeles Lakers despite expressing interest in the Atlanta Hawks forward.

Per Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, the Wizards hope to re-sign Kuzma in free agency, which makes him it unlikely for Washington to trade away the scoring forward in exchange for John Collins.

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It’s unclear what the Wizards’ roster-building endgame is should they retain Kyle Kuzma. Moreover, Kuzma could bolt for any team in free agency, which makes keeping him a huge risk even if Washington owns his bird rights. Meanwhile, Collins is locked up until at least the end of the 2024-25 season, with a player option for the season after that. For a team content with staying in the middle of the pack, acquiring the certainty of Collins’ contract could prove worthwhile even if that meant relinquishing Kuzma in a trade.

Nevertheless, Kuzma has really come into his own as a member of the Wizards. He is currently averaging a career-best 21.3 points per game on a career-best 46.1 percent shooting from the field. Perhaps with a few upgrades here and there, the Wizards could build a playoff team around Kuzma, Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.