Kyle Kuzma

Report: Kings ‘right there' in pursuing Kuzma trade

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The NBA trade deadline is just hours away, and apparently, the Kings have been busy behind closed doors as they try to make an upgrade to solidify their Western Conference standing.

Sacramento is one of two teams heavily pursuing Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma, NBA insider Marc Stein reported on NBC Sports California's "Kings Pregame Live" on Wednesday, with the Dallas Mavericks being the other team showing interest.

"The Kings have been right there with Dallas in terms of pursuing Kyle Kuzma," Stein said. "The Kings and Mavericks, they're in very similar circumstances. For both of those teams, Kyle Kuzma would be a tremendous acquisition as the third-best guy on your team. Not only because of his offensive versatility and talent, but he has a tremendous contract.

"The Kings are obviously committed to the [De'Aaron] Fox-[Domantas] Sabonis pairing, and Dallas, you've got the Luka Dončić-Kyrie Irving pairing. Your superstar duos get very expensive, so to try to go get a Kyle Kuzma makes a lot of sense."

Kuzma is in the first season of his four-year, $90 million contract, which he signed after coming off the best scoring season of his career.

The 28-year-old became the Wizards' undisputed top player with newly acquired young guard Jordan Poole by his side, but Washington remains NBA bottom feeders, with a 9-41 record that only is better than that of the historically bad Detroit Pistons (7-43).

In his seventh NBA season, Kuzma is averaging 21.9 points on 45.5-percent shooting from the field and 33.1 percent from 3-point range, with 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

While his scoring contributions surely would be appreciated in Sacramento, Stein doesn't see Washington moving on from the former first-round pick just yet -- unless it comes with the right price.

"The latest signals as of tonight (Wednesday) are that Washington does not want to part with Kyle Kuzma and they want at least two first-round picks and no one has met that valuation yet," Stein said. "The Kings have been active, they've been on the phones a lot. They'd like to make an upgrade. But at this point, nothing has materialized yet and we're less than 24 hours away to see if they can manufacture something.

"But I think they have been very aggressive behind the scenes, trying to make some sort of upgrade."

That aggression might have significantly increased after the Kings dropped an uninspired 133-120 loss to the Pistons -- Yes, the historically bad Pistons -- on Wednesday night in their first game back at Golden 1 Center since Jan. 22.

Frustrated and disappointed boos filled their home arena at one point during the loss, signaling a possible call of action to Kings general manager Monte McNair and Co. But the clock is ticking and the Kings must decide if an upgrade elsewhere is necessary, or if they have faith within the squad they already have to make a real playoff push.

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