Yesterday, the Nets announced that they had agreed to an offer sheet with Otto Porter Jr. The deal would be for 4 years and 106 million dollars, and the Wizards have until July 8th to decide on whether to match it or let Porter Jr. play for the Nets next season. With John Wall in his prime, the Wizards can’t afford to give Porter a max deal.
Porter Jr., although he has star potential, doesn’t fit the Wizards timeline. By the time this deal expires, he won’t even be in his prime (27 years old). And, it is proven today that you need three stars to compete for a title (unless you’re the Spurs in this case). There are plenty of teams that have two stars: Rockets, Clippers, Raptors, Celtics, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, etc. But, in order to compete for championship, you need that third star (along with many other aspects).
John Wall will be 27 at the beginning of next season, which leaves the Wizards 3-5 prime years left of Wall. That’s their best chance at winning a title. Otto Porter Jr. is not a star, and if his deal is matched, it will leave Washington with no cap to grab another star to D.C. The Wizards already have a bad deal with Ian Mahinmi, so the Wizards can’t afford to sign a star if they sign Porter. Porter can definitely be a star, but it’ll take 3 more years, which is when John Wall starts to fade. Porter Jr. doesn’t fit the Wizards timeline and is not worth a max contract right now. Just to put it in perspective, Porter would be getting paid double (in millions) than his PPG from last season (26m a year, 13 PPG).
The Wizards have some great opportunities to acquire a star as well. Washington has been linked to Carmelo Anthony for a while, and although he said he’ll only waive his no-trade clause for Houston or Cleveland, the Wizards are in a good place and maybe can convince Melo to come to D.C.
The 2018 free agent class is also loaded. Brook Lopez and Demarcus Cousins headline the center position, and those would be nice additions to improve their frontcourt and gain a star while doing it. But, none of that is possible if the Wizards choose to re-sign Porter Jr., who is still just a role player. And with Isaiah Thomas and LeBron James being Unrestricted Free Agents in 2018 and their next steps unclear, the Wizards could find themselves a great opportunity to take over as the best team in the East.
Re-signing Porter Jr. would be a safe move for the Wizards. It can guarantee 3-4 years of 50-win seasons and second round exits, but if the Wizards want to go for a title, re-signing Porter Jr. is not the move. The East is getting weaker and weaker every year, making teams like Boston, Toronto, and Washington more attractive for free agents. And with a loaded class next year, the Wizards can’t afford to run out of cap paying Porter Jr. Letting Porter Jr. walk might be a risk, but as Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”