How Dejounte Murray, Mikal Bridges trades affect Kyle Kuzma’s value

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The dust has mostly settled on free agency, with most of the biggest names already committing to the teams they’ll be playing for during the 2024-25 season. Most teams with cap space have also spent money on the players they deem are perfect fits for their roster. Thus, for teams still looking to bolster their roster, pulling off trades appears to be the way to go. In particular, the Washington Wizards, which came so close to selling at the 2024 trade deadline, could draw a ton of interest for combo forward Kyle Kuzma.

Kuzma, back in February, was drawing a ton of trade interest, with the Dallas Mavericks being one of the teams that was in pursuit of the 28-year old forward. In the end, the Wizards kept him — but it appears as though this decision will be beneficial for Washington moving forward. They are now looking to demand multiple first-round picks in any Kuzma trade, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, thanks in large part to the returns Dejounte Murray and Mikal Bridges netted the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets, respectively.

Murray, as one would recall, got the Hawks two first-round picks as well as former lottery pick Dyson Daniels in return. For good measure, the Hawks also received Larry Nance Jr., someone that they could flip to a team in need of some frontcourt depth.

And then there’s the godfather offer that the New York Knicks put on the table for Mikal Bridges. The Knicks gave up five first-round picks, a pick swap, and a second-round pick; this was simply an offer that the Nets couldn’t refuse.

Alas, the Wizards may have to temper their expectations. Kyle Kuzma, for as talented of a player as he is, may not be as appealing of a trade target to contending teams as Murray and Bridges are. But with the lack of options left in free agency, the Wizards could very well be in position to receive a huge trade return.

Breaking down Kyle Kuzma’s trade value

Compared to Dejounte Murray and Mikal Bridges, Kyle Kuzma is the worst trade asset among the three. This is not to say that Kuzma is a bad player who cannot help a winning team. On the contrary; he is a solid rebounder, a versatile scorer, and on the right team with proper coaching, he could be a helpful piece on the defensive end as well. He provides offensive upside and matchup versatility in a 6’9 frame.

The reigning champion Boston Celtics have shown that having positional flexibility is crucial in any team’s bid to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. Kuzma definitely has the size to be playoff-viable, which is very important to take into consideration for any contending team that will be giving up future first-round picks to acquire his services.

However, Kyle Kuzma’s pedigree pales in comparison to that of Murray and Bridges. Murray, for one, is a former All-Star. He is also a better ballhandler, playmaker, and shooter than Kuzma. Perhaps on a team with more offensive weapons, Murray could rediscover the All-Defensive Team version of himself following a few rough years on the defensive end.

Meanwhile, Bridges, despite struggling as the first option for the Nets, has proven in the past that he can be a high-level complementary player on a winning team. The Phoenix Suns flourished when Bridges was there, making it to the NBA Finals in 2021 and tallying the best record in the NBA in 2022. Bridges is as good of a perimeter defender as it can get, and his experience as a first option in Brooklyn means he now has more juice off the dribble whenever teams zero in on Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

It is fair to wonder just how impactful Kyle Kuzma will be in a much limited role. With the Wizards, he was free to commandeer the offense in ways he won’t be allowed to should he join a contending team. Kuzma is a below-average three-point shooter and he is ridiculously turnover-prone for someone who isn’t an elite playmaker. But shot-creation at his size as well as helpfulness on the glass makes Kuzma a helpful player nonetheless, especially when his contract is very desirable to other teams.

Which teams are potential trade partners for the Wizards?

The Sacramento Kings have been on the prowl for an upgrade for a while now, and they continue to be interested in Kyle Kuzma, per reports. Kuzma would give the Kings some much-needed offensive shot-creation for a player with prototypical forward size. However, the Kings appear to be fixating more on a potential deal for Lauri Markkanen.

Meanwhile, the Lakers will always be linked to any potential Kuzma trade with the Wizards due to their shared history. The Lakers have been notoriously passive this offseason; will adding Kuzma be their big splash?

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