Washington Wizards: Otto Porter’s Max Deal and Its Ramifications

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 30: Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards shoots in front of Sean Kilpatrick #6 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Verizon Center on December 30, 2016 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 30: Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards shoots in front of Sean Kilpatrick #6 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Verizon Center on December 30, 2016 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Washington Wizards small forward Otto Porter finally got his max deal. On Tuesday, he signed a 4-Year offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets. We will continue to debate the money offered for much of the summer, but we need to prepare for the inevitable, and look forward to the future.

To max or not to max Otto Porter by the Washington Wizards is no longer the question.

Mr. Porter now has a signed offer sheet in hand, after being courted by both the Sacramento Kings and the Brooklyn Nets, over the 4th of July holiday weekend.

After Vlade Divac and the Kings, flopped their way into Washington on Sunday, the Kings offered Porter $106 million over 4 years. But on Tuesday, David Aldridge reported, that since the Kings made deals for both Zach Randolph and George Hill, they were no longer in the Porter business, and to expect the Brooklyn Nets to make a max offer.

On Tuesday, Porter signed an offer sheet with the Nets for $106.5 million over 4 years. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, beginning on July 6, Washington has 48 hours within which to match the Nets. The deadline is 11:59 pm EST on July 8.

So how did Porter get here? In his four seasons with Washington he only missed 15 games. This past season he had a breakout year, and at one point led the league 3-point shooting.

Then there was a game that will surely go down as a Hardwood Classic, when the Wizards battled the Cleveland Cavaliers in Washington. Porter was fearless and beautiful against the Cavaliers, spotting up as his three-ball soared over the heavens.

Porter’s breakout season had a bit of a breakdown towards the end of the season, when he began to disappear. Not just his performance, but sometimes he would be in the corner during a game on the exercise bike trying to loosen up his sore hip.

But as they say, during the regular season you earn your money and during the playoffs you earn your reputation. During the Atlanta playoffs, I wrote that Porter may have hurt his max contract chances.

In the playoffs, Porter was no match for the Hawks’ rookie Taurian Prince. Prince doubled his averages against Porter. During the regular season, Prince averaged 5.7 points per game and 2.5 rebounds. Against Porter, the rookie averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.

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In Game 5 against Atlanta, Porter only had 8 points. It was like there were two Porters, the regular season Porter and the Playoff Porter. At the time I wrote, “When purely looking at the numbers, it seems as if Prince is more deserving of the contract than Porter. Scoring a mere 8 points won’t be enough when going up against the first seeded Boston Celtics.”

I also added, “Porter was able to hide under the radar and disappear for most of the first round. But the Boston Celtics will make the Washington Wizards pay for Porter’s disappearing act, especially if he continues to be the team’s weakest link.”

Boston did in fact make Porter pay, and pay dearly. Porter scored 0 points in elimination Game 6 against the Celtics at the Verizon Center.

Porter’s performance was utterly unacceptable. It put more pressure on both John Wall and Bradley Beal to go into overdrive, and carry Porter. By the time Game 7 rolled around, Wall was tired from having to carry Porter and Washington’s weak bench.

The Boston Celtics didn’t beat Washington, the Wizards were tired and beat from having to carry each other’s weight throughout the playoffs. Boston has a strong bench, so it was like 3 against 15, because Boston could put in any type of rotation. Whereas, Washington could only depend upon Wall, Beal and Markieff Morris.

Washington’s bench only scored 5 points in Game 7, to the Celtics’ bench of 43. The Washington Wizards went to Boston with half a team, and for most of the series the Wizards were undermanned.

Porter was supposed to be Washington’s 3rd scoring option, yet he wasn’t an option at all during the playoffs.

So when Porter and his representatives met with Washington’s front office that early Saturday morning, some pondered why not max Porter then.

Two reasons: First, Porter did not show up in the playoffs, the most critical moment when his team needed him.

Before Porter’s debacle in the playoffs, he was looking at $128 million over 5 years. But after the playoffs, it didn’t make sense for Washington to pay Porter such a princely sum.

Secondly, money is needed for Washington’s weak bench. Although, I recently wrote  that the team should go after Michael Beasley, the Wizards haven’t yet made any bench acquisitions that move the needle. So why give Porter, during their initial Saturday meeting, 5 years, when they could give him 4 and loosen up money for the future?

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It was a wise move for Washington not to max Porter last week, and now they only have to match 4 years instead of 5. I don’t believe in telling anyone how to spend their money, but this would be the first time the Wizards go into the luxury tax.

Instead of looking to the future, the Wizards should look to now, and acquire a stronger bench.

The new bench acquisitions are almost like Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings all over again. Let’s get a bunch of players, and hope one of them sticks. Stop Micky Finning with the bench. The Wizards are only as strong as their bench. Please pick up solid pieces.

It’s as if the Wizards put all their energy into Porter, and neglected their bench. They do so at their own peril, because as it now stands, with the bench basically the same, the Wizards will again end up fourth in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards organization has to stop telling its fans that the team is young, so they will be good in the future. Tell that to some of the rookies who shook Washington during the playoffs. If you’re good, you’re good and hiding behind your age is no excuse.

So Porter will get his max money. Does that mean he will play better? Time will tell soon enough. Just in case, the Washington Wizards should not put in a trade kicker into Porter’s new contract.

Because if Porter doesn’t show up next season and pulls a disappearing act again, he could just as easily reappear on another team. Hopefully, Porter improves because he already wasted Washington’s time during the playoffs, he better not waste their money. Porter is no longer a knockdown shooter, but I believe that Porter can improve so that he’s no longer streaky.

Next: Otto Porter Signs Brooklyn Nets' 4-Year, Max Contract Offer Sheet

Here’s to second chances and hopefully another shot at the Eastern Conference Finals. Good luck Porter, we’re all rooting for you.