The Wizards are one of four franchises in NBA history to never have paid the luxury tax, that could change this season.
Otto Porter Jr. is a promising young combo forward at the age of 24 that entered restricted free agency this off-season and signed a four-year, $106 million max offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets.
According to numerous reports on Wednesday, the Wizards have every intention to and will match the offer sheet in order to retain Otto Porter Jr..
It seems crazy to offer max money to a player who had career highs of 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds the season before (it is kind of crazy), but 24-year-old forwards who can defend and shoot 43 percent from three don’t grow on trees and an organization can’t afford (appreciate the irony) to let an asset like that go for nothing when they control it as the Wizards do with Porter’s restricted free agency.
On the other hand, paying $26.5 million per season to Porter after paying Bradley Beal more than $25 million per season on average and now reportedly $42.5 million per season to John Wall, takes up more than 90% of the team’s salary cap.
The Wizards will likely now be locked in a situation where in order to keep their young core together and continue to make an attempt to win, they have to spend more than 90% of the NBA salary cap for the next few seasons on a trio of players that don’t make you a championship contender or anything better than a 50 win team.
This is the classic problem that occurs in the NBA and can seriously hamper franchises, locking them into mediocrity or upper middle class mediocrity with no financial flexibility or ability to improve or bottom out for years.
This is what makes professional sports and building an NBA team specifically such an incredibly difficult task as you have to find the right talent, pay the money to keep it and face a tax or risk upsetting your fan base by letting talent walk to avoiding overpaying it and being stuck in cap hell and the dreaded middle of the NBA hierarchy.
If you are unable to acquire a transcendent talent like a LeBron James or Kevin Durant (or multiple these days) than outside of catching lightning in a bottle or the perfect starting lineup like the Detroit Pistons in the mid-2000s, the natural transgression for a franchise in their cycle of improving typically includes finding young talent, developing it and often times overpaying to keep it and stay at a playoff or psuedo contender level as the Wizards are now.
Such is life in the NBA, a league rife with numerous ways to mediocrity or even the top tier of the lottery, but very few paths to the title.