Scotto’s Latest: Porzingis, LaVine, Trent, Pacers, Spurs

Two NBA executives who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype believe that if he remains healthy and productive this season, Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis could be in line for a three- or four-year contract worth about $30MM annually on the open market next summer. Porzingis holds a $36MM player option for 2023/24, but would likely decline that option and accept a modest pay cut next season if it meant securing a lucrative long-term deal.

With Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma both potentially on track for 2023 free agency, the Wizards may have to make some decisions in the coming weeks about their current roster’s ceiling and how committed they are to this core. The team holds Porzingis’ and Kuzma’s Bird rights, but both players would be unrestricted free agents, so Washington wouldn’t be able to fully control the process. If the Wizards are worried about losing Porzingis and/or Kuzma next summer, it would make sense to gauge their value in advance of February’s trade deadline.

According to Scotto, the Wizards believe their roster is more talented than their 12-20 record suggests and are hoping to get an extended look at a fully healthy group before making any decisions about personnel changes.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Bulls, Raptors, and Wizards are among the teams being monitored closely by rivals in case they pivot to selling. Multiple clubs, including the Knicks, are keeping a close eye in particular on Bulls guard Zach LaVine, says Scotto. LaVine has reportedly not seen eye-to-eye with the organization this season after signing a five-year, maximum-salary contract in July.
  • Multiple NBA executives who spoke to Scotto at this week’s G League Showcase “unanimously” consider Gary Trent Jr. the Raptors‘ most likely trade candidate. Trent is widely expected to turn down his 2023/24 player option (worth $18.8MM) and seek a multiyear deal. Two executives told Scotto they think Trent can get $20MM+ per year as a free agent, and there’s skepticism around the NBA that Toronto will want to retain him at a price exceeding $20MM annually.
  • With the Pacers and Spurs still well below the salary floor, multiple executives believe the two clubs will be on the lookout for opportunities to take on unwanted contracts – along with draft compensation – at this season’s deadline, per Scotto.
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