LAS VEGAS — In what has been the least dramatic story line of free agency, Otto Porter Jr. will return to the Washington Wizards as anticipated.
On Saturday, the Wizards matched Porter’s four-year, $106.5 million max contract offer sheet by the Brooklyn Nets, according to a league source. The deal comes into effect for the upcoming 2017-18 season, in which Porter will make $24.8 million and be the team’s highest paid player. The Wizards will exceed the luxury tax line for the first time in franchise history.
The Wizards now have 15 players signed, 13 with guaranteed contracts. The team’s estimated 2017-18 salary will be $126.1 million, which will be $10.7 million over the luxury tax line.
Per NBA rules, Porter has 48 hours to report to the team to take his physical. From there, the Wizards have another 48 hours to file the process to the league. So the deal will not be finalized completely until next Wednesday evening.
Porter found plenty interest as a restricted free agent, and ultimately agreed to an offer sheet from the Nets. Elements of the deal include a 15 percent trade kicker, a player option for the fourth year and a wrinkle that half of Porter’s annual salary will be delivered to him by Oct. 1 each year. Despite these details, the Wizards held steadfast in their pledge to bring back the 24-year-old.
Now Porter can remain a Wizard until at least the 2020 season (the player option allows him to terminate the contract before its end date), and the team’s continuity persists as its greatest strength since the core players are all under contract for a minimum of one more season.
Last year, when the starting five of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat all played, the Wizards earned 43 wins out of the team’s total of 49. Porter developed into a deft spot-up shooter and led the league in three-point field goal percentage through most of the year. Although Porter’s production waned after the all-star break — from February to March, his shooting dipped significantly— he still finished the season having made 43.4 percent of his threes. Also, Porter averaged career bests with 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
While Porter’s payday has caught the attention of the NBA, sparking debates about whether a team’s third best player is worth a max contract, he should become a very popular man to some within the Wizards’ locker room. Teammate Kelly Oubre Jr. attended Washington’s Summer League game in Las Vegas and was posed a lighthearted question on whether Porter will pick up dinner tabs.
“I hope so,” Oubre said. “I ain’t paying for it.”