Feb 16, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter (22) reacts to the Wizards defeating the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Washington defeats Indiana 111-98. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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With Otto Porter Jr. becoming a restricted free agent, signing the young forward could be a priority for the Washington Wizards. But there could be other suitors.
The Washington Wizards will have an interesting case on their hands this summer depending on how the season ends. With the type of season Otto Porter Jr. is having, they may have another big contract to sign.
But can they afford it?
The third overall in the 2013 NBA Draft is averaging 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game in his fourth season as a pro.
Porterhas made a career-high six three pointers in three games so far this season. He’s made one three pointer in all but 11 games for the Wizards as well.
While shooting a career-high and league-best 46.5 percent, Porter has been superb for the Wizards who are 34-21, third in the Eastern Conference. But when the season ends, Porter will be a restricted free agent.
After finishing at fifth in the Western Conference last season, the Trail Blazers are 23-33 at the All-Star Break this season. Turner has played in 50 games so far this season since signing a four-year, $70 million deal this past summer.
But he’s averaging 9.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists–far from the stat-sheet stuffer the Trail Blazers thought he’d be.
The team shipped off Plumlee as well for youth (Nurkic) and a first-round draft pick in the upcoming draft. The Trail Blazers will have three possible first-round draft picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, but only time will tell if they hold on to them all.
With so many players on the move, making a free agency move is a must if the Portland Trail Blazers want to win right away. A max deal for Porter could be on the way, but they still have moves to make beforehand.
The Brooklyn Nets are a team in search of a big-time free agent signing. At 9-47 this season, the Nets will be under the salary cap this offseason with veterans Luis Scola, Bojan Bogdanovic and Randy Foye all freeing up space. It bodes well for a team looking to change its culture in Brooklyn.
As they currently are lacking at the wing position, Porter Jr. fits in well with their scheme of guards who like to drive-and-kick. With a lot of youth in guards Isaiah Whitehead, Sean Kilpatrick and Caris LaVert, it could bode well in luring a young guy like Otto Porter Jr.
However, with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the small forward position, it could create an interesting influx of players as well. Hollis-Jefferson is playing better in his second NBA season averaging 7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists but he’s no Otto Porter Jr.
The Nets still have club options on Hollis-Jefferson’s third and fourth years or he could become a restricted free agent in 2019.
Jan 19, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) gestures after a three point basket during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Washington Wizards won 113-110. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
1. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards would be certifiably insane if they didn’t sign Otto Porter Jr. this offseason, even if it means a max deal. With center Ian Mahinmi on a four-year, $64 million deal, the Wizards’ investment in the 30-year-old has yet to pan out, but that’s OK.
Porter has a lot to do with the Wizards’ 34-21 record. He’s made a career-high six three-pointers in three games so far this season and continues to improve.
Signing Porter long-term should be a priority, but upgrading the bench should also be on the table as well. They’ve gotten away with winning despite having the likes of guard Trey Burke and center Jason Smith. But it won’t be nearly enough for them to build a championship roster around.
If the Wizards do sign Porter to a max deal, Mahinmi can become the easiest asset to move. However, it’s all dependent on how Mahinmi performs after the All-Star Break.
If he can be a formidable force in the paint, look for Washington to possibly move him, freeing up even more cap space.
Once the team signs Porter long-term, the next focus needs to be on improving the bench. Point guard John Wall, center Marcin Gortat and forward Markieff Morris won’t be free agents until the 2019 season, as will a number of other players.