Kuzma says he didn't want to be traded to Dallas, wanted to stay in Washington

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards

Kyle Kuzma was a popular man at the trade deadline, with a number of teams reaching out to the Wizards about the availability of his services. At the front of that line were the Dallas Mavericks, a team looking to upgrade on the wing that had Kuzma on top of their list.

Talks got far enough that the Wizards' top decision maker, Michael Winger, presented the idea of a trade to Kuzma, something Kuzma told Josh Robins of The Athletic.

"There was a point in time, Dallas, they definitely did want me," Kuzma told The Athletic... "Winger presented me with what the trade was and obviously didn't want to trade me and kind of left the decision up to me a little bit and asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to stay and continue to build something. And that was kind of the end of it.”

Winger called the Mavericks back and said the deal was off the table.

If true, that is unusual deference to a player who is not a top-10 in the league, franchise cornerstone kind of guy. Giannis Antetokounmpo gets that kind of consideration, so does Luka Doncic and others on that level. Kuzma is a good player, but if it were better for the franchise to move on from him, that usually happens. Players surprisingly often learn their fate from a Woj bomb, just like the rest of us.

The next question is, what are the Wizards building? At 9-44 they have the second-worst record in the NBA, and while they have some intriguing young players such as rookie Bilal Coulibaly or third-year player Corey Kispert, this is not a young team like Oklahoma City or Orlando. Kuzma is in his age 28 season, Jordan Poole is 24, and Tyus Jones is 27. It's not clear what the direction of the franchise is going forward.

Whatever it is, Kuzma wants to be a part of it.