The Washington Wizards had an up and down season in the NBA, finishing with a 34-38 record and earning eighth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Even after being eliminated early from postseason competition, however, they made moves to strengthen their roster for future success. Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma are two key pieces to their future plans and remain integral parts of this organization’s future plans.
Porzingis was acquired by the Wizards from the Dallas Mavericks through a trade. His unique combination of size, shooting ability and athleticism make him one of the NBA’s premier big men; even after multiple injuries this season. As such, they intend to keep him as part of their lineup and are committed to keeping him as one of their stars.
Kuzma, on the other hand, is an emerging star of the NBA. At 6’9″, this small forward has shown glimpses of brilliance since joining the league and recently had an outstanding year with the Wizards averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game – an outstanding showing by any standards! Still relatively young at only 24 years old, his goal now is to be recognized amongst his peers as one of their premier performers.
Porzingis’ decision to decline his player option is calculated, yet one that he is willing to take. By becoming a free agent, Porzingis hopes that a more lucrative long-term contract with the Wizards awaits him. While injuries remain a risk, Porzingis remains confident in his abilities and hopes to remain competitive at an elite level for years.
Kuzma, however, is expected to decline his player option and negotiate a new contract with the Wizards instead. Following a breakout season that earned him all-star status last season, he’s become one of the hottest free agents available and the Wizards want him back on their roster as soon as possible – no details yet know of what exactly will make up Kuzma’s new contract, though expect significant increases from its current $13 million player option option contract value.
Re-signing of Porzingis and Kuzma shows the Wizards’ commitment to building a competitive roster. With these two stars in place, the team should have all of the pieces necessary to compete at an elite level; however, more work must be done for them to become championship contenders.
One of the primary areas of concern for the Wizards is their defense. Despite having two of the league’s premier offensive players, they struggled mightily on defense last season. If they want to remain as true contenders, however, they will need to address these shortcomings and find ways to slow down some of its top scorers.
The Wizards also must address their lack of depth. While Porzingis and Kuzma are two stars for them to rely upon when making deep playoff runs. Therefore, they will require players that can contribute off the bench and provide valuable minutes when their stars rest.
The Washington Wizards made an important move by re-signing Porzingis and Kuzma as they look to build a team capable of competing for an NBA championship. While there remain areas for improvement that need addressing, they have taken the necessary steps in the right direction and could become one of the top teams in the league with some targeted additions to their roster that could become contenders in future seasons.
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