Sources: Kyle Kuzma declines option, becomes free agent

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma has declined his $13 million player option and will become a free agent, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday.

Kuzma is expected to be one of the most prominent players to hit free agency this summer after averaging a career-high 21.2 points to go with 7.2 rebounds.

He told reporters in April that he'd consider returning to Washington, his home since the 2021-22 season after spending four seasons and winning a title with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"It's 100 percent an option. ... I've had a great time here," Kuzma said of Washington. "I've developed my game significantly here, and there's good people here. I'd be a fool to say it's not an option for me."

But things changed for the Wizards following the end of last season. General manager Tommy Sheppard was let go, and the franchise hired former Clippers GM Michael Winger to be president of Monumental Sports and reshape the organization. The team also swung a deal to send Bradley Beal, the face of the franchise for the past several years, to Phoenix.

The No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Kuzma hit the ground running, averaging nearly 19 points per game in his second season before scaling his game back when Anthony Davis joined the Lakers. But less than two years after helping L.A. win the title as a reserve in 2020, Kuzma was sent to Washington as part of the Russell Westbrook trade.

Kuzma said his goal in free agency is to go somewhere where he can be the best version of himself.

"I'm trying to get better every year," Kuzma said in April. "It's not about money, I'm going to get paid regardless anywhere [I go] and here, too. It's about can I come into work every day and be the best version of myself, can I help lead guys, can I make other players better, can I light up rooms? All those things matter when you're trying to be successful."

ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this story.