Otto Porter, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, wasn’t one of the eight members of his draft class to sign a rookie scale extension this year, but that doesn’t mean that his days in Washington are numbered. Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld tells J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com that the club still wants to re-sign Porter when he becomes eligible for restricted free agency next summer.
“We had conversations, but we want Otto here long-term,” Grunfeld said. “We like Otto. We really like what he brings to the table. He’s a really good player that meshes well with John [Wall] and Brad[ley Beal], who like to have the ball in their hands. Otto cuts and spots up and he does a lot of little things. He makes a lot of winning plays that don’t show up in the box score. Our intention is in the offseason is to have Otto signed and have him here long-term.
“We like everything about him. Great character, very hard worker, very low key, does everything behind the scenes,” Grunfeld added. “I talked to Otto and let him know that he’s very important to us and we expect him to continue to work hard, continue to improve and continue to contribute to what we’re trying to do.”
Porter, 23, has gradually assumed a larger role in the Wizards’ rotation since averaging just 8.6 minutes per contest in his rookie season back in 2013/14. The sample size for this season is small so far, but in his first three games, Porter is averaging a career-high 15.3 PPG and 7.7 RPG, while making an impressive 62.9% of his shots from the field.
Although the Georgetown product didn’t sign an extension with the Wizards by October 31’s deadline, the team will still hold the right of first refusal on Porter next July, provided he receives a qualifying offer making him a restricted free agent. At that point, rival teams would be able to recruit the 6’8″ forward with potential offer sheets, but Washington would have the right to match any offer.
For his part, Porter says he’s not worried about his contract situation at this point, preferring to let agent David Falk handle that side of the business, as Michael writes in a separate CSNMidAtlantic.com piece. “I’m just focused on basketball. I let my agent deal with all that,” Porter said. “He’s going to make it easy on me.”