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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]

 

 

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Wizards' third pre-draft workout to feature local stars including GW's Yuta Watanabe

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards' third pre-draft workout to feature local stars including GW's Yuta Watanabe

The Wizards will hold their third pre-draft workout on Thursday at Capital One Arena, this time featuring four local standouts out of the six players attending. Highlighting that group is Yuta Watanabe of George Washington, the Atlantic-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

Here is the full list with notes on each player...

Phillip Carr, F, Morgan State (6-9, 205)

Carr averaged 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds this past season at Morgan State in Maryland. He shot 84.6 percent from the free throw line, excellent for a big man.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

James Daniel III, G, Tennessee (6-0, 172)

Originally from Hampton, Va., Daniel III played four years at Howard University in D.C. before transferring to Tennessee as a redshirt senior. He was the MEAC Player of the Year in his last healthy season at Howard. Daniel III averaged 5.6 points in 35 games for the Volunteers.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Marcus Derrickson, F, Georgetown (6-7, 250)

Derrickson hails from nearby Bowie, Md. He played three years with the Hoyas and averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and shot 46.5 percent from three this past season. 

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Junior Etou, F, Tulsa (6-8, 235)

Originally from the Republic of Congo, Etou went to high school at Bishop O'Connell in Arlington, Va. He is Serge Ibaka's cousin and didn't start playing basketball until he was 15. Etou averaged 15.0 points and 7.9 rebounds this past season.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Junior Robinson, G, Mount St. Mary's (5-5, 150)

The Northeast Conference Player of the Year, Robinson averaged 22.0 points and 4.8 assists this past season. He was a four-year starter at Mount St. Mary's.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Yuta Watanabe, F, George Washington (6-9, 205)

One of the best basketball players to ever come from Japan, Watanabe was a defensive standout for the Colonials who developed into a solid scorer by his senior year. This past season, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He is known in Japan as 'The Chosen One' and both of his parents played basketball professionally. NBC Sports Washington first reported he would work out with the Wizards this week.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent; best chance for NBA is as defensive specialist

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard


The Wizards held their second pre-draft workout at Capital One Arena on Wednesday and the theme of this session was shooting. They hosted six players, four of which shot 40 percent or better for their college careers. Not 40 percent for their final season, like they developed a shot over the years, 40 percent for their careers.

Those four would be Aaron Holiday of UCLA, a likely first-round pick, plus likely second-round picks Devonte' Graham and Sviatoslave Mykhailiuk of Kansas, and Zach Thomas of Bucknell who may go undrafted.

One of the outliers was Moe Wagner of Michigan, who shot 39.4 percent as a junior. The other was Johnathan Williams, who shot 33.3 percent from long range in college, but impressed in the workout by knocking down more shots than expected.

Wizards executives raved about the amount of made shots in this workout and the players they chose to host help demonstrate that shooting is a need the Wizards are hoping to address. Head coach Scott Brooks said as much in his final meeting with the media following their playoff loss.

Here are some notes on the players that addressed reporters on Wednesday...

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

 - The brother of NBA players Jrue and Justin, Holiday said he is aiming to find the same success as them at the professional level. Both are good defensive players and Holiday said that is a big part of his game: 

"No pressure at all. I'm here to make my own name for myself... We all like to play defense... I just try to watch how they read guys and force guys into bad plays."

Holiday was informed his brother, Jrue, had just been named All-Defense. He was happy for him, of course.

"That's awesome. That's actually really good. I thought he would do it, too. Obviously, he's a great defender. Both of my brothers do well."

 - Bringing in Holiday was interesting because he is expected to be a first round pick and plays point guard. The Wizards, of course, already have an All-Star point guard in John Wall. Holiday acknowledged that fact, but believes he can play with both Wall and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal:

"It was obviously a question of why they would want me, but at the same time I know they need help on the backend, coming off the bench and playing high minutes and producing while John and them aren't on the court. Or, even playing with John Wall out there... with John and Bradley Beal out there, I could space the court pretty well for them."

Holiday would have no problem beginning his career as a bench player, if that's what happens:

"If the coach tells me to come off the bench, play a lot of minutes and get other people involved, that's what I will do. I also can play off the ball as well. I think I fit pretty good."

The Wizards taking a point guard in the first round is not that crazy of an idea. They have long been in need of a viable backup point guard and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors showed how much a really good backup can help.

Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

 - Wagner worked out with the Bulls first and has the Nets up next. He said the Wizards workout was more intense than the Bulls, which is something we heard from many prospects last year. Washington apparently puts a greater emphasis on physical conditioning than other teams.

 - A native of Germany, and a seven-footer who shoots threes, naturally Wagner grew up a big fan of Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki:

"He was kind of our MJ. He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball. He's from where I'm from, too. It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

 - Questions for Wagner surround his defense and whether he can protect the rim, as he wasn't a shot-blocker in college. Wagner said he is hoping to show teams how his mobility can help on that end of the floor:

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen. Especially with the way the league is going; switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Devonte' Graham, G, Kansas

 - Graham also worked out with the Bulls first. He has the Suns, Hawks, Rockets and Grizzlies up next. He expects to work out for 13 or 14 teams in total.

 - Graham is from Raleigh, just like Wall who was in attendance. Wall and Graham sat next to each other to chat after the workout was over:

"We're from the [area code] 919 and we all stick together. I hit him up last night."

 - Graham also knows Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. very well. They were roommates as freshmen at Kansas:

"He was a goofy dude. That was my boy, though."

 - Graham said he has been talking to Jazz star rookie Donovan Mitchell about the draft process, as he and Mitchell share the same agent.

MORE WIZARDS: 

- Diallo visits: Is the Kentucky star a good fit?
- Turgeon talks: Maryland coach talks 2018 draft
- NBA mock draft: Post combine edition

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