Otto Porter is in the final year of his rookie scale contract, and while players in his situation tend to be trade chips the Wizards aren't floating him with Thursday's deadline approaching.
He's never been available, though everyone in the league is available pending what's being offered in return. Every team in need of a small forward is going to want Porter, who is in the midst of a career season as the NBA's top three-point shooter.
Like Bradley Beal a year ago when he wasn't given an extension to his rookie deal, Porter is in a similar position making $5.9 million this season. The Wizards will have to tender him a qualifying offer ($125%) at the end of June to make him officially a restricted free agent which gives them first right of refusal to mach an offer sheet to retain him. Or they can immediately come to terms with Porter as they did with Beal.
Why isn't Porter considered expendable?
The Wizards have one of the best starting fives in basketball. In the East, especially with the Cavs missing Kevin Love, it could be argued that they're the best in the conference. With John Wall and Bradley Beal able to dominate possession and create for others, Porter is content and most effective playing off the ball. He's shooting 46.5% from three-point range. Unless the Wizards are getting a Paul George caliber player in return, they're not putting the cart before the horse by gutting this starting five for a role player for the bench.
With the need for bench scoring, why didn't they trade for Lou Williams who was available from the Lakers?
He's on a good contract at $7 million per through 2017-18, but the Rockets gave up a wing defender in Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round draft pick for the short-term. At 40-18, they could grab the No. 2 spot from the Spurs by season's end. The Wizards gave up a 2016 first-round pick for Markieff Morris which made sense because they had a hole in the starting lineup and stretch players at his position are more difficult to find that high-volume shooting guards. Plus 2016 was a weak draft. The 2017 draft is much better therefore a first-round pick is more valuable. All draft picks aren't created equal. The Wizards need bench help. A second-round pick is a fair swap to fill such a void, unless the trade partner is also willing to take a bad contract.
Why hasn't anything happened yet?
Every year, the flurry happens in the last 24 hours leading up to the deadline (Thursday, 3 p.m. ET). This is what makes the Sacramento Kings making a decision so early in the process on DeMarcus Cousins more head-scratching. There are a lot of contingency plans and dominoes that will fall. It's hard to determine what the Wizards will do. A player who isn't available now might end up on the market. A "no" from an earlier conversation can become a "yes." President Ernie Grunfeld likes to put a lot of irons in the fire and let things simmer.
Who is selling?
The Lakers, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Kings, etc. See a pattern? Teams that aren't winning and willing to part with pieces to rebuild with draft picks from playoff-bound teams or teams with playoff aspirations. Mavs owner Mark Cuban recently made it public that he'd be willing to take on a bad contract for draft picks. Of course, those picks are only as valuable as they're used correctly. Draft badly and picks are a burden.
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