Should Kyle Kuzma regret turning down trade to Dallas Mavericks?

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma missed out on the postseason entirely instead of potentially playing a key role in the Western Conference Finals.

Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks are a single win away from an NBA Finals appearance, which Kuzma could’ve been a part of. In mid-February, the 28-year-old forward spoke with The Athletic’s Josh Robbins about nearly getting traded to the Mavs. 

“There was a point in time, Dallas, they definitely did want me,” Kuzma shared. “[Michael] 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.”

Kuzma finished this season as the Wizards’ leading scorer, averaging 22.2 points on 46.3% shooting from the field and 33.6% shooting from 3-point range. Washington finished as the No. 14 seed in the East with a record of 15-67. It’s respectable to remain loyal in hopes of building out a championship-caliber roster, but Kuzma followed it up with a jab at Dallas. 

“In my career, I won a championship. So, I understand that when we play this game of basketball it’s not about contending for a playoff spot. It’s about contending for an NBA championship,” Kuzma said. “There’s only like three or four contenders — true contenders. I just felt like our timelines didn’t line up.”

Kuzma’s hint that the Mavericks weren’t ready to compete for a title didn’t age well. The star tandem of Dončić and Kyrie Irving are performing at historic levels. Over the past 50 years, they are the only starting backcourt to each score at least 30 points in the same game three times in a postseason, per @ESPNStatsInfo.

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Instead of Kuzma, the Mavericks opted to acquire his Wizards teammate Daniel Gafford as well as P.J. Washington from the Charlotte Hornets. Both have emerged as meaningful contributors during the postseason, with Gafford averaging 8.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on 57.6% shooting from the field and Washington is averaging 14 points and 6.8 rebounds on 44.6% shooting.

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