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

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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.


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Isaiah Thomas expected to miss several more games due to calf injury

Isaiah Thomas expected to miss several more games due to calf injury

WASHINGTON -- Isaiah Thomas has missed the Wizards' last two games with a left calf strain and it sounds like he will be out at least a little while longer.

The Wizards guard caught up with NBC Sports Washington at his holiday toy giveaway at the Boys and Girls Club in Northwest D.C. on Saturday and gave an update on how he's feeling.

"I'm good," he said. "I think I will be out a few more games and then be able to come back."

Thomas nearly played on Thursday in the Wizards' home win over the Sixers, according to head coach Scott Brooks. He pleaded with the coaching staff to play, but was advised not to as a precaution.

Thomas categorized the injury in a similar way, that the team is just playing it safe.

"I always feel like I can play, but the medical staff wants to be cautious about it, knowing it's a long season. There's a bigger picture and I'm just listening to whatever they've got to say," he said.

Thomas, 30, is enjoying a career renaissance of sorts with the Wizards. He is averaging 12.6 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 41 percent from three on 4.9 attempts per game.

With Thomas out, the Wizards have gone 1-1 with Ish Smith in his place in the starting lineup.


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Why Isaiah Thomas brings his kids to help him at charity events

Why Isaiah Thomas brings his kids to help him at charity events

WASHINGTON -- Isaiah Thomas likes to bring his sons with him just about wherever he goes. They walk with him into the Wizards' locker room, they shoot around on the court at Capital One Arena; he's even brought them to the podium for postgame interviews.

On Saturday, Thomas brought one of his sons to the Boys and Girls Club on 8th St. in Northwest Washington and for a specific reason. Thomas wanted him to help give back.

Just as Thomas was handing out toys to underprivileged youth, so was his son. The contrast was not lost on Thomas, who knows his son is well off as the kid of a millionaire NBA player. Not everyone is as fortunate.

"When I can do these types of things, I always want my kids to be around it," Thomas told NBC Sports Washington. 

"To be able to give back and see how blessed we are and how blessed he is and how we can put smiles on peoples' faces, especially around the holidays; it's definitely a point of emphasis to do that and bring my boys around to see it."

Thomas said his father instilled the same lessons in him when he was growing up in Washington state. Every Saturday morning at 6 a.m., his dad would take him to a shelter to serve breakfast to the homeless.

"That was something I was born into doing," Thomas said.

Thomas grew up going to the Boys and Girls Club himself and has partnered with them and World Vision throughout his NBA career to give back. Their efforts nationally have allowed him to continue the relationship no matter which team he has played for.

"Isaiah Thomas has been an amazing partner for World Vision," aid worker Brian Duss said. "Isaiah wasn't even in D.C. four days before he partnered with us at a school in [Southeast] to give away 400 backpacks filled with school supplies."

Before handing out toys and taking pictures with the children, Thomas addressed the crowd with a microphone. He spoke of his experience going to the Boys and Girls Club as a kid and explained the impact he hopes to make in the D.C. community.

"Whatever you need from me, I'm always here for you," he said. "I hope everyone has a happy holidays."