Though the timing was coincidental, Otto Porter Jr.'s absence from Friday night's game against the Sixers had nothing to do with the trade rumors he had been involved in earlier in the day. Instead, Porter left for personal reasons to deal with a family matter.
The rumor had tied him to the Sacramento Kings. It was reported by the Athletic and confirmed by NBC Bay Area.
Though the Kings may have interest in Porter, the Wizards maintain their stance that they are not looking to trade him, according to a person familiar with the situation. That means no plans to ship him to Sacramento or anywhere else.
But, what if they changed their mind? If the season continues to feature lopsided losses, the Wizards may have to re-evaluate their long-term options, especially in light of their salary cap situation.
We may be months away from such a scenario, but if they ever reached that point, the Kings may make as much sense as anyone to discuss Porter or anyone else on their roster.
Sacramento happens to be the only team in the NBA currently with cap space. According to Spotrac.com, they have just over $11 million to spare.
That means they could take on some salary and any trade involving Porter would have to account for his $26 million contract this season. Porter is due to make $27.3 million next season and the following year is a player option worth $28.5 million.
With the Wizards firmly in the luxury tax, the idea of some cap relief is enticing. They could unload some money.
The Kings were also one of the teams that showed interest when Porter was a restricted free agent in the summer of 2017. His representatives met with the team, though it was the Brooklyn Nets who ultimately gave him the offer sheet the Wizards chose to match.
Sacramento was interested in Porter then, but struck out. And now they look ahead to the summer of 2019 with a loaded free agent class and a ton of money to spend. They only have about $50.3 million on the books for next season, around half of the allotted salary cap.
They have a lot of money in expiring deals with Zach Randolph ($11.7M), Iman Shumpert ($11M), Kosta Koufos ($8.7M), Ben McLemore ($5.5M) and Willie Cauley-Stein ($4.7M).
The problem is that the Kings haven't exactly been a free agent destination over the years. Their prospects to sign a top player are questionable at best. Their safest best might be to trade for someone under team control for the next several years - like Porter.
All of those factors make sense, but it's not that simple, of course. The Wizards would have to want something the Kings have and bad enough to part with one of their best players. Though Porter's salary is very high, he is a productive player who provides important attributes like three-point shooting and rebounding.
The Kings have some nice players, but several that they would be unwise to part with. De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III are all young players on the rise and on rookie deals.
But Cauley-Stein, Koufos and Shumpert are intriguing pieces. Cauley-Stein and Koufos happen to big men and the Wizards are down their starting center with Dwight Howard out for months following surgery.
If the Wizards wanted someone not on an expiring contract, perhaps they could pry away Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is averaging 15.1 points this season while shooting 38.6 percent from three.
Trades require a lot of stars to align. For a Wizards-Kings deal involving Porter, the Wizards would have to arrive at a point where they feel a major trade is necessary. They aren't there yet.
But if the Wizards change their mind, Sacramento does make a lot of sense.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Back home: Wiz host Brooklyn Saturday night
- In-House Solution: Wiz don't plan to make trade or sign FA to replace Howard
- Wall on refs: Frustration boils over