The Washington Wizards plan to re-sign soon-to-be restricted free agent Otto Porter no matter what, which suggests they’re smart.
Porter is going to command max money on the semi-open market. Washington has the right to match, but its desire to do so was initially questioned, according to the Sporting News’ Sean Deveney. It’s now been put to bed:
The Wizards were able to unload the remaining three years and $19 million on the contract of Drew Nicholson in their trade with the Nets, and that money figures to be useful this summer when Otto Porter becomes a restricted free agent. Porter has improved steadily in his four NBA seasons, and the Wizards intend to re-sign him. Sources indicated that there were inquiries about Washington’s willingness to deal Porter throughout the year, but the Wiz were not interested. There will be suitors for Porter—the Suns and Nets are expected to be among them—which could push Porter’s price tag near the max. But Washington still intends to keep him.
This was pretty much clear beforehand, but the Wizards erased any and all doubt by using a first-round pick to wipe Andrew Nicholson’s salary from the books while bringing in Bojan Bogdanovic’s expiring deal. Porter is their second-most valuable player, according to NBA Math’s Total Points Added, and they cannot afford to lose him. They can hold out hope that he won’t command a max contract, but you can bet teams with cap space and few other options (looking at you, Brooklyn Nets) won’t hesitate to throw a monster deal his way in case the Wizards aren’t totally sold.
Whatever it costs to keep Porter, the Wizards will pay. It’ll be expensive, no doubt, but that doesn’t make it any less of a no-brainer.