NBA Rumor: Otto Porter Trade?

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The Washington Wizards announced today that they have acquired forwards Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker as well as a 2023 second round pick from the Bulls in exchange for Otto Porter Jr. “We are bringing in two former first round picks who will give us frontcourt depth with their ability to play multiple positions,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “The trade also provides us with an opportunity to continue to develop two promising young players while giving us future flexibility.”
2 years ago via ESPN

Significant financial savings in Washington with the Otto Porter trade to Chicago. The Wizards tax bill for this season now drops from $8.96M to $3.34M. The team is now $2.3M below the tax threshold. For 2019-20, Washington now has $89.5M in guaranteed contracts, a savings of $28M. Jabari Parker has a $20M team option that needs to be exercised by June 29. Bobby Portis is on an expiring contract and the Wizards will have until the end of June to submit a $3.6M Qualifying Offer.
2 years ago via ESPN

Portland stands a potential buyer — an under-the-radar really good team with questions about its postseason viability. The Trail Blazers have put their first-round pick in play, per sources around the league. They have investigated Porter’s availability. Taurean Prince makes some sense; he’s up for an extension this summer, and the Hawks have made him available, sources say. As a free agent non-destination, the Blazers value players whose rights they can control. But the Hawks are asking a lot so far — a young player and a pick — and haven’t gotten much traction on Prince trades, sources say.

After months of speculation surrounding the future of players like John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. amid the Wizards’ struggles, team owner Ted Leonsis went on the record to confirm his star players won’t be involved in trade talks ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. “I love when they go, ‘trade Bradley Beal. Trade John Wall. Trade Otto Porter.’ And I go ‘ok, for who?’ We’re not trading any of those players… wouldn’t throw in the towel on this core,” Leonsis said during an interview with WTOP radio.

As we head into trade deadline season, the Jazz continue to search for that dynamic third piece that up to this point has eluded them, league sources tell The Athletic. According to sources, the Jazz have expressed interest in Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley and Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr., both of whom have been put on the trade block by their respective teams. Does that mean the Jazz will for sure actively make offers for one or both? Not necessarily. But it does mean if circumstances align, the Jazz may have interest in throwing their hat into the ring.

The Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic are still competing for a playoff berth, but both teams are preparing for the deadline with the awareness their moves will be made based upon whether the team is trending upward or down as Feb. 7 approaches, sources said. Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is not going anywhere, which Washington has made adamantly clear, league sources told The Athletic. Depending on how the next week to two weeks shape up, the Wizards could look more aggressively toward moving Otto Porter. The Utah Jazz have been an interested suitor for Porter, league sources said. Beal has helped lead the Wizards to seven wins in their past 10 games, carrying a squad that lost All-Star John Wall to season-ending heel surgery before the New Year.

Wizzzzards (when said team already has a ‘z’ in its name, adding additional ‘z’s reflects the dysfunction being discussed): No team has been accused of falling short of expectations for longer than Washington, and a 5-11 start was enough to spark a no-punches-pulled practice session on Nov. 20 in which players’ frustrations flew all over the floor. Yet while the Wizards’ front office has been open to discussing any and all members of their core, their Dec. 16 trade with Phoenix for Trevor Ariza signaled (once again) a pivot toward prioritizing playoff contention rather than rebuilding (and no, we’re not going into even bother getting into the tale of two Brookses). For all the focus on the idea of John Wall (too expensive) or Bradley Beal (too good) being traded, it’s small forward Otto Porter who appears most likely to be dealt before the Feb. 7 deadline.

The Kings have liked Porter for some time. A contingent from the front office traveled to the East Coast to meet with Porter when he was a restricted free agent in 2017. Porter opted to sign an offer sheet with Brooklyn instead of the Kings. That four-year, $106 million deal was matched by Washington. The Kings still haven’t filled their need for a small forward since missing out on Porter. Joerger has started guard Iman Shumpert at small forward most of the season.

Trading Porter and his $26 million salary isn’t easy, though. Houston would have to give up both Knight and Eric Gordon just to make the salaries work, and that would just mean sacrificing backcourt depth to shore up the frontcourt. That’s why Oubre has to be included, and why a deal suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. Says a front-office source: “What if they upgrade the length and passing element of Gordon and get younger at the same time? Porter is a much better matchup in a Golden State series for both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. The optionality of Oubre as a 23-year-old restricted free agent at the end of the season is vitally important— important enough that some of picks you were going to put into play in a Butler deal might be better used here.”

Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal. But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts. My pal Zach Lowe at ESPN recently did a deep dive on just how hard Wall will be to trade once his “supermax” contract extension kicks in next season.

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.
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