Report: Kyle Kuzma becoming more realistic target for Cavs for full mid-level exception

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Kuzma could be a target for the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Washington Wizards continue to move into a rebuilding situation in the wake of the Bradley Beal trade.

The Cavaliers could look to improve through trades or free agency, which is how Kuzma can become available.

“Instead, keep an eye on free agency, with multiple sources saying Kuzma is now becoming a more realistic target for Cleveland to sign with their full mid-level exception,” wrote Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid. “Those same sources said that the Utah Jazz, the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets could also be in the mix for Kuzma and, more importantly, offer the high-scoring forward more money in free agency.”

Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis can opt out of their contracts to become free agents instead of re-signing with the Wizards, who agreed to trade Beal to the Phoenix Suns as the first step of what is looking like a virtual teardown of the roster.

Kuzma would provide the Cavaliers the scoring they lacked at times last season, especially in the first round of the playoffs against the New York Knicks. The 27-year-old averaged a career-high 21.2 points per game, shooting 33.3 percent from 3-point range.

Porzingis also could be on his way out of Washington and may be interesting to Cleveland as well. Also 27, he is coming off a career-high 23.2 points per game last season.

Despite a high-scoring trio of Beal, Kuzma and Porzingis, the Wizards failed to make the playoffs and finished under .500 for the fifth straight season, leading to what seems to be a revamp of their roster.

That is not the case for the Cavaliers, who are looking to build off their first playoff appearance since 2018. Donovan Mitchell proved he is among the best players in the NBA, and a supporting cast led by Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen helped the Cavs to 51 regular season wins.

It did not go so well in the playoffs, however, with the Cavs winning only once and getting eliminated by the Knicks in five games. So improvement is necessary, and that is where players like Kuzma and Porzingis could help.

The Cavs also seem to have an interest in moving up in Thursday’s 2023 NBA Draft. Cleveland, which holds only the No. 49 pick, reportedly is looking to acquire a first-round pick, with the Indiana Pacers possible trade partners for a deal.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.