Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards' recent history with contracts for John Wall, Bradley Beal bodes well for Otto Porter

Wizards' recent history with contracts for John Wall, Bradley Beal bodes well for Otto Porter

What will, or should, the Wizards do with Otto Porter when what is expected to be a feeding frenzy otherwise known as NBA free agency opens at 12:01 a.m.?

For months, the position has been to put the issue to bed quickly. Porter is a restricted free agent and the Wizards could move to close the deal or tell him to fetch an offer sheet from another team that they'd then have 48 hours to match to retain him.

It's a pay now-or-pay later dilemma but ultimately the Wizards will have to pay a lot of money to keep their 2013 No. 3 overall pick who is coming off the best season of his career (13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 43.4% three-point shooting). 

The Wizards, however, have their eye on Paul George. He's on the market going into his final year of his deal that pays $19.5 million and will leave. He has an option year for 2018-19 that he's already said he will opt out of and Indiana is in a bind. 

[RELATED: One possible Wizards offer for Paul George floated in report]

The Wizards can't offer the type of attractive package that the Boston Celtics could with their multitude of assets which include draft picks. Then again, with no guarantee that George will stay with the team that receives him beyond the 2017-18 season complicates any deal. The Pacers hold the rights to their blue chip talent, but if they hold on to it too long that could backfire. 

So what are the Wizards to do?

Their recent history suggests they take the bird in hand. When John Wall was eligible for an extension in 2013, they struck up talks during Las Vegas summer league play in July of that year and came to terms on what was then an $80 million max soon afterwards.

When Bradley Beal was a restricted free agent last summer, they agreed to terms on a $128 million max early in the process of free agency though they didn't make anything official until later in the process for cap reasons.

Beal had a lot to prove and had health concerns every year of his career since he'd been drafted in 2012. Like Wall, he raised his level after the deal. Both are coming off their best seasons and both were the healthiest they'd ever been.

Porter is slightly different in that he's not the same kind of player. Whereas Wall and Beal can isolate their opponent and break him down 1 vs. 1, that's not in Porter's wheelhouse. 

[RELATED: Top 20 NBA free agents available]

He's best off the ball and playing off others. While a good passer, he doesn't create for himself and needs to be surrounded by the right pieces to be the most effective. 

Porter can drop a career-high 34 points and 14 rebounds like he did Nov. 11 vs. the Boston Celtics or go scoreless in 36 minutes of Game 6 in the playoffs vs. the same team.

He benefitted greatly from teams loading up on the ball with Wall or sending blitz coverages vs. Beal. Porter found the soft spots around the arc, made himself available and knocked down the shots. After a 2-8 start, the Wizards' 49-win season can be attributed to Porter doing his job in this regard.

Defensively, he was solid as long as he didn't encounter big, physical small forwards. Porter had difficulty matching up with LeBron James. While that's a problem for everyone around the league, the key is to be able to make him work hard for what he gets. 

Porter's lack of physical strength makes him more of a liability. He also can be a step slow and easily disrupted by contact on his lock-and-trail technique when defending off screens and handoffs. 

In other words, Porter is a role player. He does it well. He moves without the ball and makes himself available. He knows how to manipulate space and when you add in the development on his three-point shot he has lot of value.

After Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward, there aren't that many small forwards in free agency who can be said are better Porter. The best of the rest are the oft-injured Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay (coming off an Achilles tear), Jeff Green, Tyreke Evans and P.J. Tucker. 

[RELATED: Eastern Conference team seen as big threat for Otto Porter]

Tucker is a player, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com, that the Wizards have inquired about in the past. Green, from Georgetown like Porter, also has been on their radar. 

But the concept of supply vs. demand in the NBA is no different than anywhere else. There are some solid small forwards available but how many are 24 like Porter?

Part of free agency is gauging not just where a player is at that moment in his career but what's his ceiling. Can he get better? Will he get better? Will he do the work necessary to get better?

It's a future's market, too. If the answers to all of those questions are yes, he'll be promptly re-signed.

If the Wizards later decide they want to make a major move to bring in a third player to form a Big 3 with Wall and Beal, that would have to wait until December per collective bargaining rules. But they'd also have Porter under a long-term deal to guarantee certainty for another suitor.

The most important thing from Porter's perspective is that he'll likely be earning max under a larger salaray cap ($99 million), or near max money, than Wall or Beal. 

Allowing him to leave without a comparable or better replacement isn't an option for a team that won 49 games and came one victory from advancing to the conference finals.

Unless a Hail Mary to acquire George comes to fruition, it'll be the other moves the Wizards make to fortify the roster with little cap room that will determine if they'll be taking another step forward.

[RELATED: Price tag sends race for Paul George into holding pattern]

 

 

Quick Links

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

usatsi_9095555.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

usatsi_10649028.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS