Otto Porter Jr. received a maximum contract offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings on Sunday after a meeting among Porter, his representation and Kings officials. According to an ESPN report, the Kings offered Porter the highest possible figure for a player of his stature: a four-year deal starting at 25 percent of the salary cap, or $24.8 million for this coming season.
As a restricted free agent, Porter can still return to the Washington Wizards, but the team must match the Kings’ offer. Washington has until Saturday to re-sign Porter.
According to several people familiar with the Wizards’ thinking, the team will in fact match the lofty offer. The Wizards did not extend their own maximum offer to Porter at the start of the free agency period at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, but team officials still believe that he is a vital part of the team’s success. If Porter re-signs with Washington, he would become the highest-paid player on the roster.
Keeping Porter would greatly limit Washington’s spending potential. Therefore, the Wizards must find minimum salaries to complete the roster. They made one such deal Sunday, adding shooting depth to its bench unit by agreeing to terms with free agent guard Jodie Meeks. The short-term deal is for two years and $7 million and makes use of Washington’s bi-annual exception.
A reputed sharpshooter with a career .376 three-point field goal percentage, Meeks, who will turn 30 in August, is coming off an injury-plagued season. Even so, the Wizards still made the move to shore up the bench shooting. This addition, combined with Porter’s maximum offer sheet, likely signals the end of Bojan Bogdanovic’s brief time in Washington.
Although the Wizards extended a qualifying offer to Bogdanovic ($4.6 million) ahead of free agency, he is seeking a far greater number in the open market but will likely have to wait until other small forwards like Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gay and Danilo Gallinari agree to terms.
As part of a February trade with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Bogdanovic, Washington gave up its first-round pick. At the time, the necessary sacrifice aided a bench that struggled to find consistent scoring and shooting. In the final 27 games of the regular season, Bogdanovic averaged 12.7 points and shot 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.
If Bogdanovic does not return, then Meeks would instantly step into the shooting void. Through a scattered 2016-17 season with the Orlando Magic, Meeks shot a personal-best .409 three-point percentage.
Last July, Meeks had surgery on a broken bone in his right foot and missed the beginning of the season. Then in January, Meeks underwent surgery to repair two sprained ligaments in his shooting hand. Meeks appeared in only 36 games for the Magic and averaged 9.1 points and 3.8 three-point attempts per game.
When healthy, Meeks can supply veteran depth to the wing rotation. Meeks has played for five teams over his eight-year career. Through much of the 2010-2012 seasons in Philadelphia, Meeks played as a starter. Then during a two-year stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, Meeks often defended Kobe Bryant in practices. By the start of the 2015 season in Detroit, various injuries began to limit Meeks’s time on the floor. But for the small price tag, the Wizards have found Meeks to be worth the risk.
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