The Wizards raised some eyebrows over the summer when they inked Bradley Beal to a five-year, maximum-salary contract that put the team on the hook for nearly $130MM for a player who has never been healthy for a full season. Now, another Washington player may be a surprise candidate for a max deal in 2017. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link), two front office executives have predicted to him this week that Otto Porter will get a maximum-salary offer next summer.
The third overall pick in the 2013 draft, Porter had a solid season in 2015/16, recording career-highs in PPG (11.6), RPG (5.2), SPG (1.4), FG% (.473), and 3PT% (.367), among other categories. So far this season, however, he has taken his game to another level, improving his averages in each of those categories and others. In 19 games (all starts), the 23-year-old has scored 14.7 PPG to go along with 8.1 RPG, 2.0 SPG, a .535 FG%, and a .414 3PT%.
Those numbers aren’t necessarily eye-popping, but in a league where three-and-D wing players are increasingly valuable, they’ll look awfully appealing to suitors hoping to pry Porter away from the Wizards in restricted free agency in July. For comparison’s sake, many of Porter’s numbers so far stack up favorably to Nicolas Batum‘s 2015/16 marks, and Batum landed a five-year, $120MM contract over the summer.
With three-quarters of the season to play, Porter’s outlook could change significantly between now and next July. Still, if the Georgetown product, who didn’t sign a rookie-scale extension before the October 31 deadline, were to receive a maximum-salary offer sheet from another team, the Wizards would find themselves in a difficult position. A long-term max deal for Porter would put two such contracts on Washington’s books, and neither one would belong to the team’s All-Star point guard, John Wall.