NBA Rumor: Otto Porter Free Agency

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“Otto has developed into a vital part of our young core, which is why we made it clear that our priority was to keep him here to maintain continuity and build on the success of this group heading into next season and beyond,” Grunfeld said. “His versatility, basketball IQ and three-point shooting combine to make him a great fit for us on the floor while his character and work in the community show why we’re so pleased to have him as a cornerstone of our franchise.”

The Nets’ offer sheet to Otto Porter Jr. arrived at the Wizards’ offices Thursday evening. Now the Nets’ pursuit of the top restricted free agent on the market has reached the final, fretful stage — waiting. The Wizards have until 11:59 p.m. Saturday to match the four-year, $106 million offer sheet, which sources told The Post they plan to do. It includes disincentives Nets general manager Sean Marks hopes will deter the Wizards from matching, including a player option for the fourth season and a 15 percent trade kicker, according to ESPN.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson couldn’t comment on Porter, but Nets power forward Trevor Booker — who played with the 24-year-old with the Wizards — discussed his former teammate on the Hoopshype podcast. “I love Otto Porter’s game,” Booker said. “I got to play with him while I was in Washington. Just seeing him play, he brought so much to the table. He’s very versatile, he’s a good defender, good shooter, he can put the ball on the floor, he can pass it. I’d be very excited for him to join our team.”

The Wizards were able to unload the remaining three years and $19 million on the contract of Drew Nicholson in their trade with the Nets, and that money figures to be useful this summer when Otto Porter becomes a restricted free agent. Porter has improved steadily in his four NBA seasons, and the Wizards intend to re-sign him. Sources indicated that there were inquiries about Washington’s willingness to deal Porter throughout the year, but the Wiz were not interested. There will be suitors for Porter—the Suns and Nets are expected to be among them—which could push Porter’s price tag near the max. But Washington still intends to keep him.

The writing had been on the wall for quite some time that Otto Porter would go into this season without an extension to his rookie scale contract, but his approach hasn’t been any different. While a player being in a contract year can cause chemistry issues for some teams, that’s not the case with Porter. “It’s definitely a factor depending on who that is,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “I’ve been on teams where that guy was in his contract year but was not a team guy. You knew he was going for numbers. … With our guy, Otto, he’s a team guy. He’s a winner. I would never worry about him. He plays the right way. He plays for his team. He makes a lot of winning basketball plays. I love coaching him. Going forward, that would not even cross my mind. That’s not going to cross his mind. He’s going to play hard and do what he has always done.”

For his part, Porter, a meek and unassuming small forward who avoided the AAU circuit en route to becoming an elite prospect, doesn’t care about any of the chatter. He’ll likely become a restricted free agent next summer provided the Wizards make him a $7.7 million qualifying offer to retain the first right of refusal. “I’m just focused on basketball. I let my agent deal with all that,” said Porter, who is represented by David Falk. “He’s going to make it easy on me.”
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September 27, 2021 | 10:23 am EDT Update