With John Wall set to undergo season-ending heel surgery, the Washington Wizards are stuck in NBA purgatory. As the team struggles through a 14-23 record, it may be time to regroup and change the direction the franchise is headed. Teams are scoping the landscape for valuable assets from the Wizards, as the Feb. 7 trade deadline approaches.
One of those teams is the Dallas Mavericks, who have expressed interest in trading for Wizards forward Otto Porter, per Michael Scotto of the Athletic.
Porter is in the second year of his four-year $106.5 million contract. Currently the Wizards’ highest-paid player, Porter has been a disappointment this season. After a career-year in which he averaged 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and shot 44.1 percent from three, he has regressed this season, averaging 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 36.8 percent from three. A knee injury has forced him to miss the previous 10 games.
Porter’s deal is expendable even if the Wizards were not in dire need of dumping salary. Paying $27 million for what has turned to be more of a role player is detrimental for any team wanting to contend in the NBA.
The Wizards have three max deals on the books and Wall is expected to be out six-to-eight months following his heel surgery. With his super max set to kick in next season, he will more than likely be with the team through any retool or rebuild. That’s why moving one of the other two max deals imperative for the Wizards’ future.
According to Scotto, the Wizards are “likely” to field calls for Porter and Bradley Beal ahead of next month’s trade deadline.
Certainly, the Wizards prefer to move Porter over Beal but if worse comes to worst, moving Beal and his max deal that owes him roughly $56 million over the next two seasons may be inevitable.
A previous report suggested the Sacramento Kings also had interest in Porter. However, Beal is the more coveted prize for contenders.
For the Mavericks, reports suggest the team is willing to trade 2017 first-round pick Dennis Smith Jr. in large thanks to the impact 2018 first-round pick Luka Doncic has presented for them. However, with Porter’s $26 million salary this season, Dallas will have to offload plenty of other players to match or find a third team to facilitate a deal.
Harrison Barnes has a similar deal that ends a year early. He has been much more productive, averaging 18.6 points and shooting 42.8 percent from three. However, chances are Barnes wouldn’t be included as he has been a vital part of the Mavericks’ nucleus with Doncic and DeAndre Jordan. Not to mention, he carries an 8-percent trade kicker and has a player option after this season.
The 32-year old Wesley Matthews is intriguing considering he makes $18.6 million on the last year of his deal. If the Wizards are ready for a retool/rebuild grabbing an expiring deal to get Porter off the books is just ideal if a Smith Jr. is included. Matthews is averaging 14 points and shooting 39 percent from three in 30 games.
Only time will tell how interested the Mavericks are in Porter and if any unknown team is just as interested or more before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.