The Sacramento Kings have provided the Washington Wizards with an out that they desperately need, as the team is interested in Otto Porter Jr. The Athletic first reported the Kings’ interest on Friday just ahead of Porter sitting out the Wizards’ 123-98 loss to Philadelphia due to personal matters.
Porter makes just over $26 million this season and is due $27.3 million next season before a player option of over $28.4 million for 2020-21, per Spotrac.
The Kings had interest in Porter when he was a restricted free agent in the summer of 2017. His representatives met with Sacramento officials but the Brooklyn Nets were the team that ultimately gave Porter an offer sheet that the Wizards matched paying the former Georgetown product over $106 million over four years.
The Wizards have struggled out of the gates this season with an 8-14 record. Porter has been at the gist of the struggles, averaging 11.8 points per game and a 29.4 minutes. He found himself out of the fourth quarter rotation for much of the start of the season even with Washington going with a small ball lineup.
The Wizards’ problems don’t lie solely on Porter’s struggles, however, they are in desperate need of a third scorer that can consistently scored close to 20 points per game to go along with Bradley Beal, who is averaging 21.6 points and John Wall’s 21.0 points per game. Porter has scored 20 or more points only once this season.
Despite being the highest-paid player on the roster, Porter is Washington’s fifth-leading scorer. Dwight Howard is third on the team with 12.8 points per game and he has missed 13 games this season and will be out an additional two-to-three months following glute surgery.
Kelly Oubre is averaging nearly five minutes less than Porter per game is fourth with 11.9 points per game. Porter’s lack of aggression on offense has played a part in the team’s struggles. Oubre along with recently added veteran Jeff Green have been tabbed ahead of Porter in the fourth quarter, despite the fact the Wizards best net points (+31.0) lineup features Porter with Wall, Beal, Green, and Markieff Morris, per Basketball-Reference.
Porter is a good player but at his salary and the expectations of the Wizards, they don’t need a good player in Porter’s role, they need a great player or at least a good player at a suitable price. When the Wizards matched the Nets’ offer sheet, they were anticipating getting a third All-Star caliber player, they’ve got nothing more than a role player.
Sacramento is the only team in the NBA with cap space with roughly $11 million available, according to Spotrac. For the Kings, they have exactly what Washington needs, a slew of expiring contracts. While De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III are sure to be off limits, the expiring contracts of Willie Cauley-Stein ($4.7 million), Zach Randolph ($11.7 million), Iman Shumpert ($11 million), Kosta Koufos ($8.7 million), and Ben McLemore ($5.5 million) are all intriguing.
The Wizards just lost their starting center for a significant amount of time. They desperately need cap relief.
Pull the trigger tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/iHvbiqqaPf
— SactownBabyGiraffe (@TimMaxwell22) November 30, 2018
The Wizards are over the luxury tax threshold and offloading expendable contracts would be ideal, as they are currently $30 million over the salary cap and $8.9 million over the luxury tax threshold. With their slow start there have been reports and rumors suggesting the Wizards blow up their roster, but with Wall’s impending supermax extension that kicks in next season and Beal’s talent level, it may be best for Washington to retool around the dynamic backcourt.
Cauley-Stein would give Washington a young athletic big man with potential of bringing back at a much more reasonable price if signed long-term. Shumpert would give Washington another defender to help improve the NBA’s worst defense in points allowed per game. The others could contribute this season and eventually part ways through free agency giving Washington a small relief. Throw in a draft pick and Washington could grab multiple valuable assets for the long-term.
It’s clear Washington needs to do something. Parting ways with Wall or Beal is not likely or not even something the Wizards may want to do. Porter just has not been the player the Wizards have paid for, and finding an interested team with some valuable assets to get in return is a perfect way for Washington getting the ball rolling towards a reset.