The Wizards have exercised their $5,893,981 team option on Otto Porter‘s rookie scale deal for 2016/17, according to the RealGM transactions log. That’ll keep the former No. 3 overall pick under contract through that season, the last on his rookie scale pact. The team has yet to make an official announcement, but it appears as though Washington has made the move well in advance of the November 2nd deadline.
It’s no surprise to see the Wizards pick up the option, even though it adds to their books for next summer, when they’ll surely be chasing Washington native Kevin Durant in free agency. Porter took strides last season after a disappointing rookie year, and he made a strong impression in the playoffs this past spring, when he averaged 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game across 10 postseason appearances. The 22-year-old small forward figures to see more minutes this season in the wake of Paul Pierce‘s departure.
Adding Porter’s option gives Washington more than $39MM in guaranteed salary for 2016/17, roughly $50MM less than the projected $89MM cap. Durant’s maximum salary is a projected $24.9MM, and the Wizards are also considering an extension for Bradley Beal that could add up to $20.4MM to the ledger, based on Beal’s projected max. A max contract for Durant and a max extension for Beal, plus the cap holds the team would be required to carry for open roster spots, would probably leave the Wizards without the flexibility necessary to build a credible bench for next season, as I explained when I looked at Beal’s extension candidacy. Letting Beal hit restricted free agency next summer would allow the Wizards about $6.2MM more in cap flexibility while still affording them an opportunity to sign him for the max after they use up their cap space on others, since Washington would have Beal’s Bird rights.
Porter looms as a potential sign-and-trade candidate if the Wizards ink Beal to a max extension this fall and if Porter continues to blossom. Still, that would require the Thunder to play along, and Oklahoma City might not want to assist another team even if Durant makes it clear he’d like to play elsewhere.
What do you think Porter’s ceiling is? Leave a comment to tell us.