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.
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