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Timberwolves have ‘strong’ interest in Kyle Kuzma trade with Wizards

kyle kuzma timberwolves

Don’t sleep on the Minnesota Timberwolves as an eventual landing spot for ex-Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma.

According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas has “maintained strong interest in Kuzma for a while now” and could seek to acquire him via sign-and-trade.

After four years in Los Angeles, Kuzma was dealt — along with Kentavious Caldwell, Montrezl Harrell, and the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft — to the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook last Thursday.

Kuzma averaged 12.8 PPG over the past two seasons since Anthony Davis joined the Lakers, after posting 17.3 PPG over his first two years. He turned himself into a more complete all-around player (especially on defense) and earned a championship ring for his efforts. In the 2020-21 playoffs, he lost his scoring touch, averaging just 6.3 PPG.

In December, Kuzma signed a three-year, $39 million extension with the Lakers that will kick in this season.

A Kuzma-Timberwolves deal could be an independent transaction or as part of an expansion of the Westbrook blockbuster, which can be tinkered with until Aug. 6.

Kuzma isn’t an obvious fit with the Timberwolves, especially on the heels of last week’s trade that sent Ricky Rubio to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Taurean Prince. Like Kuzma, Prince can toggle between the 3 and the 4, and shoot 3s at a passable, if not dead-eye, clip.

With Kuzma’s versatility and needs up and down the roster, though, you can understand the appeal to Rosas. The Timberwolves need talent, full stop, and they’re not going to draw free agents of Kuzma’s age (26) and caliber to Minnesota.

Malik Beasley, Jarrett Culver, and Josh Okoge would be candidates to head to the Wizards in a Kuzma swap, per The Athletic.