But that doesn’t mean Washington is ready to move on from the small forward.
Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, via J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
“We had conversations but we want Otto here long-term,” Grunfeld told CSNmidatlantic.com on Wednesday, before the regular-season home opener with the Toronto Raptors. “We like Otto. We really like what he brings to the table. He’s a really good player that meshes well with John (Wall) and Brad (Beal) who like to have the ball in their hands. Otto cuts and spots up and he does a lot of little things. He makes a lot of winning plays that don’t show up in the boxscore. Our intention is in the offeseason is to have Otto signed and have him here long-term.”
I nearly said, “File this under: What else is he supposed to say?” And this is the only answer to give when asked about Porter. It increases Porter’s trade value, dissuades other suitors from extending him an offer sheet next summer and keeps him happy and productive this season.
But Grunfeld didn’t have to give any answer. He could’ve avoided the media entirely on Porter’s future in Washington. So, this show of faith does mean something.
The Wizards won’t have cap flexibility to replace Porter if they let him leave in restricted free agency, but they could elevate Kelly Oubre. That seemed unwise, and Porter’s strong start coupled with Oubre’s shaky opening to the season only increases that sentiment.
It might wind up being costly and it’s far from certain, but this is yet another sign Porter will return to Washington next season.