John Wall’s ruptured Achilles was going to have major ramifications for the Wizards at some point. There were going to be cap casualties, based simply on the fact Wall will make $37.8 million next year and will miss at least most of the season due to his rehab.
Based on his salary and the Wizards’ lack of filled roster spots for next season, Otto Porter Jr. seemed like a likely candidate to be dealt. Sure enough, he was.
The Wizards shipped Porter to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, and in return received forwards Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis as well as a 2023 second round pick. The Athletic first reported the news, and the details were confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.
The trade gives the Wizards some much-needed long-term salary cap relief. Porter was due to make about $55.8 million over the next two seasons. Parker has a team option for $20 million next year, and Portis on an expiring deal.
They could keep one or both of them, or move on and drop well below the projected 2019-20 salary cap of $109 million. Opting out of Parker's deal alone would put them $20 million under. For a team that was due to pay the luxury tax after this season, that sounds very good.
The Wizards, though, will first have the rest of the season to evaluate Parker and Portis as options to keep moving forward. Portis, in particular, could be a good option to retain.
The 23-year-old is a restricted free agent and represents a possible long-term option at power forward. He missed over a month this season due to a right MCL sprain and also battled an ankle injury, but has since returned to put up the best numbers of his career.
Portis is averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three. He joins their rotation as instantly their top rebounder based on per game average.
Portis could be the team’s long-term replacement for Morris, who had filled the role as stretch-four the past four seasons. He is younger, has intriguing upside and shoots a higher percentage.
Parker, also 23, gives the Wizards a lottery ticket of sorts. He is trying to revive his career after two ACL tears. Just two years ago, he was nearly an All-Star for the Milwaukee Bucks. However, this season he has averaged a modest 14.3 points while shooting 47.4 percent overall and 32.5 percent from three.
Parker can replace Porter’s scoring right off the bat, but whether he can regain his form from a few years ago is no guarantee. Perhaps a fresh start in Washington will do him well.
If it doesn't work out, they can move on from his contract and free up $20 million to re-sign their own players, or become players in free agency for the first time in several years. They have more options financially now than they have in quite some time.
Though the Wizards traded one of their best players in Porter, acquiring Parker and Portis still allows them to compete in the short-term and chase their goal of making the playoffs. They added depth and scoring and may have upgraded at rebounding, one of their biggest weaknesses this season.
Just recently, majority owner Ted Leonsis expressed his commitment to Porter as part of the Wizards’ core. But that was before Wall’s injury. Clearly, his long recovery timeline changed the Wizards' plans.
They had to do something, either now or over the summer, to fix their salary cap situation. Trading Porter was their best option, and they didn't wait long to strike.
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