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Re-signing Otto Porter was never a doubt for Wizards

Re-signing Otto Porter was never a doubt for Wizards

Though things didn't happen as quickly as they technically could have, as Otto Porter was allowed to meet with teams and field offers in restricted free agency, all along the Wizards and Porter himself had a strong hunch they would ultimately come to an agreement and continue their partnership with a new contract. 

Often times head coach Scott Brooks, team president Ernie Grunfeld and even Porter himself would refer to each other as one when discussing the future beyond the 2016-17 season. That, as Brooks explained on Wednesday after Porter's introductory press conference at the Verizon Center, was not just smoke and mirrors.

"This wasn't really much of a secret," Brooks said. "I knew he was coming back the night we lost in Boston in Game 7 because I knew how important he was to our organization."

Porter, 24, re-signed on a four-year contract worth $106.5 million after meeting with the Sacramento Kings and Brooklyn Nets. The Nets made him a max offer sheet that the Wizards matched. Throughout that process the Wizards remained confident they would bring him back and all indications were that they would match whatever number Porter received. They ultimately did that on a deal that includes a fourth year player option and a trade kicker.

[RELATED: Otto Porter on contract: This means everything to me]

It was a big business decision for both sides, but each party is comfortable with the terms.

"The market spoke," majority owner Ted Leonsis said. "There was no drama in this signing."

"Those things are expected," Grunfeld said of the contract provisions.

Porter went into free agency for the first time in July and with that came many new experiences of the business side of the sport. Even when the Kings and Nets showed interest, he thought Washington was where he would end up.

"I knew I had a good chance of being back here. This is where I wanted to be from the get-go. There was the business part. It was a process and a great learning experience, but this is where I wanted to be," he said.

The Wizards' confidence in signing Porter was rooted in striving for continuity on their roster and familiarity in what he offers. They know how hard he works and feel that should bode well as they project his future.

"Otto has a great work ethic. He's gotten better every year. He got better every year in college," Grunfeld said. "This is a very special day for our organization. When we started our rebuild we said we wanted to build with a young core. Today we announce that we will keep one of those players in our core in Otto Porter."

Porter averaged 13.4 points last season and shot 43.4 percent from three, fourth-best in the NBA. Now he is the highest-paid player on the team with a salary beginning at $24.8 million this coming year. That is a good deal of money, but the Wizards are happy to spend it on what they feel like is a sure-thing in Porter.

[RELATED: Leonsis: Wizards have one of the best starting 5's in NBA]


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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

John Wall crossed one of the biggest hurdles of his months-long recovery from arthroscopic left knee surgery on Saturday by participating in his first full practice.

That means Wall went through 5-on-5 scrimmages with teammates that included contact. He is free of restrictions.

Now it is only a matter of days before Wall is ready to return to game action.

"John did everything, he did an entire practice which was great," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he did a great job offensively and defensively."


Wall, who last played on Jan. 25 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, has missed the Wizards' last 24 games. He has been absent for 35 of their 72 total games this season.

In the months he has been out, Wall has slowly worked his way to this point. He still has to get a few more practices under his belt before the Wizards can outline a target date for his return.

Wall was aggressive in testing his knee by attacking the basket, according to Brooks. Wall was moving around well and even lost a few pounds during his time off.

"He looks great and that's not easy with time off," Brooks said. "He will be back in no time."


The Wizards have gone 14-10 since Wall went down, an impressive mark especially considering how tough their schedule shook out. Most of those games came against teams with winning records either holding playoff spots or fighting for them.

The shine, though, is wearing off. They have lost two straight games and seven of their last 11. Their offense has stalled in recent defeats and it's become more and more clear they could use Wall's presence.

"He gives us that edge," Wall said. "When you have him on the floor, you get a lot of easy shots. John creates a lot of attention when he drives to the basket... I think [his teammates] have always appreciated it, but when you don't have him around you definitely miss it."

While the Wizards continue to wait for Wall to return to games, just having him in practices helps. Brooks explained how guarding a player of Wall's caliber, a five-time All-Star, raises the intensity level of their scrimmages. If his teammates do not bring their best effort, Wall can very easily expose them.


There is also something intangible about Wall's presence. The media sees it once the doors open at practice. He is talkative and energetic on the court.

Some of his teammates even described him as "loud."

"Sometimes I tell him that he's a little too loud," guard Bradley Beal said. "But that's the energy that we've missed."

"He brings the juice. He brings the energy level up," Brooks said. "You miss his spirit. You miss the way he interacts with guys. He's fiery and competitive. He gets after guys. He cheers guys on. I like that. I like guys that show emotion and passion on the court."

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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