Wizards

Quick Links

Bobby Portis likes playing for the Wizards, but can they afford to keep him?

bobby-portis-reaction-wizards-hornets-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Bobby Portis likes playing for the Wizards, but can they afford to keep him?

The Wizards have a large group of players set to hit free agency this summer. Perhaps none will be more expensive to keep than big man Bobby Portis.

He is only 24 years old and at 6-foot-10 he shot 39.3 percent from three this season while averaging 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has high upside as a stretch-four and could complement John Wall and Bradley Beal well long-term.

And, he's looking to get paid handsomely. Back in March, Portis said he wants "to make as much money as possible" this summer. Last fall, he turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls worth upwards of $50 million and is seeking $16 million per year in his next deal, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Even if the Wizards clear money this summer by opting out of Jabari Parker's $20 million team option and/or by using the stretch provision to get out of Ian Mahinmi's contract one year early, they still may not have the money to bring Portis back. They have to work around Wall's $37.8 million salary in the first year of his supermax contract and will have many roster spots to fill.

There is also the uncertainty of a new voice leading their front office. If the Wizards go outside the organization for their new general manager, that could mean a lot of change to their roster.

Portis understands how the business of basketball works. He said negotiations with the Bulls went down to the final hour in October and there was belief a deal would get done before it fell through. He is looking ahead to this summer confident in the resume he has put together the past four years, whether it leads to a new contract in Washington or elsewhere.

"I love being a Wizard," he said. "I think everything is really in line with me to be here... but I don't control that. They have to want me."

Portis is represented by Priority Sports and agent Mark Bartelstein, who also has Beal, Parker and Sam Dekker as his clients. In addition to Bartelstein, Portis said he will rely on advice from his mother and one his good friends, Marcus, whom he's known since he was in the fourth grade. 

"I’m going to lean on those three people the most and just try to make a good decision," Portis said.

Portis made $2.5 million for the 2018-19 season, the final year of his rookie scale contract. He is likely to make much, much more than that next year.

That said, it is unclear if he will get the money he is reportedly seeking. An annual salary of $16 million at his position would put him in the range of some good players like Clint Capela, Derrick Favors and Jonas Valanciunas. 

If the Wizards were to keep Portis, they would likely have to do so by matching an offer from another team through restricted free agency. They have the option to do that by extending a qualifying offer by June 30. In that scenario they would have a cap hold on their books that could hamper their ability to spend money until his situation was resolved.

The Wizards will have some tough calls to make this summer on several restricted free agents; Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant included. But Portis is likely to cost the most and therefore will probably have to be decided on first before anything else can be done.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Many Wizards players plan to wear social justice messages on back of jerseys

Many Wizards players plan to wear social justice messages on back of jerseys

The NBA's initiative allowing players to wear social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys, instead of their last names, in Orlando is being fully embraced by members of the Washington Wizards.

Ian Mahinmi and Moe Wagner have said they will wear 'vote.' Troy Brown Jr. and Jerome Robinson will wear 'Black Lives Matter.' Shabazz Napier says he has chosen 'equality' as his message.

RELATED: WAGNER TO WEAR 'VOTE' ON JERSEY

Every Wizards player who has been asked during media availability from Disney World so far has committed to participating. Their reasons are specific to the person, but they are in unity when it comes to the overall message.

"I play 82 games with my name on the back of my jersey," Brown said. "To have an opportunity to put something that I truly believe in and that needs to be addressed on the back of my jersey, I took that opportunity and am definitely going to make the most of it."

"I think for me, I will put 'Black Lives Matter' on the back of my jersey just because that is the biggest symbol of representation of what we have going on right now," Robinson said. "Through the whole quarantine, with the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the amount of people that were murdered for no reason at all, or for terrible reasoning; I think it's the biggest symbol on one of the biggest platforms."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

In asking the players, it's clear they thought deeply about which message to choose. The NBA gave them options that also include 'justice' and 'I can't breathe.' 

For Napier, there were many layers to his decision to wear 'equality.'

"I think in this world, in this moment right now, we're fighting amongst each other, whether it's black or white or women or men. I think for us to understand that everybody should be held at an equal standard, no matter the race and no matter the gender. That speaks loudly to me. I was raised by my mother only, so I understand the trials and tribulations that women go through on a daily basis to a certain extent," he said.

"I think that it's very important that as much as the [racial issues] we are dealing with at the moment, it's the same for gays and their equal rights. I think equality means a lot. I think if we get that down, sooner or later things will come to fruition and we will live in a positive world."

There has been some debate about whether the NBA returning will be a negative distraction to the social justice matters percolating around the country. But the Wizards plan to make the most of their platform in Orlando, hoping to raise more awareness for the causes they believe in.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Kara Lawson announced as Duke's next women's basketball coach

Kara Lawson announced as Duke's next women's basketball coach

Boston Celtics assistant coach and former Wizards lead analyst, Kara Lawson, is announced as the next head women’s basketball coach at Duke.

The 39-year-old Springfield, Va. natives basketball resume is quite impressive. Lawson played college basketball at Tennessee under legendary coach Pat Summit and won a gold medal with Team USA during the 2008 Beijing Games. In the WNBA she played 13 seasons in the and helped guide Sacramento Monarchs to a WNBA championship in 2005.

Lawson was hired in 2017 by NBC Sports Washington to serve as the lead analyst for Wizards broadcasts. Last summer, the Boston Celtics hired Lawson as an assistant coach.

Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca, who also is a Duke Board of Trustees member, supports Lawson’s hiring at the school, sources told the Raleigh News & Observer.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: