Fischer’s Latest: Kuzma, Pacers, Rockets, Draft, Raptors, More

The Suns have been targeting Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma for “several seasons,” league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but it seems unlikely he’ll be headed to Phoenix this summer.

Kuzma, who has said he plans to decline his $13MM player option in search of a bigger payday, has been linked to the Pacers and Rockets — a couple of teams with cap space — ahead of free agency, says Fischer.

The 27-year-old averaged a career-high 21.2 PPG in 2022/23, along with 7.2 RPG and 3.7 APG (another career-best) in 64 games (35.0 MPG). However, his scoring efficiency left something to be desired, posting a .448/.333/.730 shooting slash line for a below-average 54.4 true shooting percentage.

It’s unclear if Washington’s new front office will have interest in retaining Kuzma. The prior regime was obviously high on the combo forward, as the club decided to hold onto him through the February trade deadline.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest rumor round-up for Yahoo Sports:

  • Outside of the top-three selections, there’s a lot of uncertainty about how the rest of the lottery will play out, Fischer writes. He suggests that Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin and Metropolitans 92 wing Bilal Coulibaly are worth keeping an eye on as somewhat unexpected top-10 picks. Several teams are reportedly considering moving into or out of the lottery, and sources tell Fischer the Thunder (No. 12) should be added to the list of teams open to moving back in order to add multiple first-rounders.
  • According to Fischer’s sources, while the Raptors are still weighing their options about their roster construction, they still view Scottie Barnes as a franchise cornerstone. Multiple league executives tell Fischer the Raptors are expected to continue investigating pathways to move into the top three of the draft, and they’ve also contacted the Rockets about the fourth overall pick.
  • Moving into the top three or four would almost certainly require the Raptors to part with Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby, Fischer notes. Toronto has had previous trade talks with the Trail Blazers, who control the third pick, centered around both forwards, sources tell Fischer. Both players are entering the final year of their contracts, so presumably any team acquiring either player would have to secure a long-term commitment — they’ll both be extension-eligible this offseason. Fischer hears the Raptors have told rival clubs they declined Portland’s overtures for Anunoby in exchange for the seventh overall pick in 2022, but obviously last year’s seventh pick has a different valuation than a top-three selection in a draft that is viewed as having three standout prospects.
  • Multiple sources tell Fischer that Anunoby is “very much” open to staying with the Raptors if he can land a bigger role in the team’s offense under new head coach Darko Rajakovic. However, he suggests that might change if Siakam and Fred VanVleet remain on the roster alongside Barnes next season. The Kings are among the teams interested in Anunoby, Fischer writes, with Harrison Barnes‘ future up in the air ahead of free agency.
  • Despite opting out of his player option, VanVleet is still open to re-signing with the Raptors, per Fischer. $90MM over three years appears to be VanVleet’s floor for a new contract, according to Fischer, who adds that fellow guard Gary Trent Jr. will likely command “at least” $20MM annually in free agency. Trent is expected to decline his own player option, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. The deadline on Trent’s decision was June 14.