Just as expected the Brooklyn Nets are shooting their shot with Otto Porter. Brooklyn and Otto Porter have agreed to a four-year max deal offer sheet that will pay the Washington Wizards’ small forward $106 million, according to Shams Charania of the Vertical.
However, the Nets signing may be nothing more than a gesture. While the Wizards were hoping to work out a cap-friendly deal, they intend to match the offer sheet according to sources. It’s been no secret Washington was taking this planned approach since missing out in the Paul George sweepstakes.
The average salary of $26.5 million per season would make Porter the highest-paid player on the Wizards roster. It’s certainly a number that the team preferred not to pay. However, the Wizards are in a tough spot with little cap space to make a maneuver to make a reasonable upgrade to Porter (thanks Ernie Grunfeld).
The real concern will come past this summer. The team has offered a Super Max extension to their star John Wall. The extension would pay Wall $168 million in a four-year deal that would kick in following the 2018-19 season. That coupled with Porter’s potential new deal and Bradley Beal’s deal that he signed last summer at an average of $25.5 million, the Wizards could have roughly
$68 $95 million tied within its top three players.
With the league’s cap being projected to be $102 to $106 million over the next two summers, the Wizards won’t have much wiggle room to build upon their core. That alone will put pressure on the trio to raise their play to the next level.
Wall is being regarded as one of the NBA’s top-15 players, in many circles top-10. He is coming off his first All-NBA team selection after posting career highs with 23.1 points, 10.7 assists, and 2.0 steals. He finished second in the league in both assists and steals. At the age of 26, he is entering his prime and is a potential league MVP.
Meanwhile, Beal also scored a career-high 23.1 points in his fifth-year in league. 2016-17 was his first season that he avoided a major injury. He played in a career-high 77 games, and the Wizards benefited with his improved health. Along with Wall, Beal led the charge that saw Washington turn around a 2-10 start into a 49-win season, coming a Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics away from reaching the franchise’s first Eastern Conference Finals since 1979.
For Porter he is currently the third option. In a contract year, he put up career highs with 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. He also shot a career highs of 51.6 percent from the field, 43.4 percent from three-point range (fourth-best in NBA), and 83.2 percent from the free-throw line.
The growing concern is how Porter faded out in the second half of the season. After the All-Star break, Porter shot just 34.1 from three-point range. He had led the league up to the break in the category. His shooting from the field dropped to 46.9 percent from the field, and he averaged 10.0 points the final 25 games of the season.
That offensive slump carried over into the postseason in some aspects. He averaged 12.2 points in 13 postseason games, and while he an incredible 67.1 percent on two-point shots, it came with just five attempts per game. Meanwhile, his three-point shooting was worse in the playoffs than in the second half, shooting just 28.2 percent.
But just as Beal, Porter has yet to enter his prime. He just celebrated his 24th birthday last month. He has so much more room to grow, and that potential is what got the eyes of Nets and several other suitors. The Wizards also understand that potential, and his skill set of being able to catch-and-shoot while getting in the paint on less-skilled defenders, as well as being an above-average defender the value to such a massive deal one day will match.
With super teams are ever so popular in today’s NBA, the Wizards will have to bank on the progression of their three homegrown stars to create such a team. Then again, isn’t that how the NBA champion Golden State Warriors got started?