The Washington Wizards appeared to be left behind by other NBA contenders. Boston improved signing Gordon Hayward and drafting Jayson Tatum. Cleveland still has LeBron James. Meanwhile the Western Conference got stronger at the expense of the East as Paul George landed in Oklahoma City, Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets, Jimmy Butler is now with Minnesota, and Paul Millsap is a Denver Nugget.
The Wizards were forced to watch all the summer fun from afar. In the end, the Wizards had to settle on re-signing Otto Porter to a ridiculous deal that makes him the highest-paid player on the roster. As Porter helps give Washington some continuity, reality is everyone else is getting better and the Wizards are not.
John Wall campaigned for George, trying to convince his close friend to force a trade to the nation’s capital. Unfortunately, that did not work out and George will now team with Russell Westbrook to form a dynamic duo. Wall’s desire for George came at the expense of Porter, a teammate of his the past four seasons.
“Look at our team. We are one piece away,” Wall told Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated. “We have the point guard, we have the shooting guard, we have the center, we have the power forward. Our three-man [Otto Porter Jr.] did great for us. You can’t take nothing away from what he did. But [George] is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It’s a piece that you’re going to need to win. If you don’t have a guy who can do that, you don’t have a chance. …
“You got to add another star. You got to add another piece. You got to have three guys. And that’s what it’s looking like.”
Now the Wizards have to bank on their homegrown top three players — Wall, Porter, and Bradley Beal. All three are coming off career seasons. Wall was named to the All-NBA third team for his rewards. Beal proved to be a budding star and great complement to Wall. Together the two are arguably one of the best backcourts in the NBA. However, Porter doesn’t quite give the superstar impression.
He is a solid contributor to the team but he isn’t quite an attractive piece to a Big three partnering on a team. It’s a notion that Wall inadvertently echoed when doubling down his piercing words about Porter when George was a possibility.
“Otto’s going to be a great player for us, a great role player for a lot of teams,” Wall said per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “There’s a difference between a role player and a superstar. It’s a big difference. There’s a lot teams that will make a lot of trades for a superstar. Look at Kevin Love getting traded for Andrew Wiggins, you never know who that player going to turn out to be.”
Wall intentions were to praise Porter but in the end he labeled Porter nothing more than a “role player.”
Unfortunately, Porter is a $106 million over 4 years role player. Wall’s subliminal hot take is sure to ruffle some feathers much like his Otto-trade off comments. But, Wall doesn’t care for the crazed reaction behind it.
“It’s what people are going to say about it,” Wall said. “I love Otto as a teammate, but at the end of the day if you can make your team better, you can always do that. If people take it the wrong way, then so be it.”
With Porter’s new salary and Beal’s $25.4 million per year average and the possibility of Wall signing a super max deal that would pay him roughly $42 million per year, Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld may have little wiggle room in improving the team in the foreseeable future.
For now, Wall appears on board for the Wizards’ settling for a homegrown third option role player that will make on average of $26.5 million per season.