So, despite Wizards owner Ted Leonsis saying his team wouldn’t trade Porter, Washington is sending the 25-year-old forward to… Chicago?
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The Bulls can’t put Porter in an ideal role, either. Lauri Markkanen is promising, but not ready to have an offense run through him. Wendell Carter might be too much of a complementary player himself to full maximize Porter. Zach LaVine is too much of a ball-stopper.
But it’s OK to get the ideal supporting player first then seek the star. Chicago’s high 2019 draft pick could yield that top-line talent.
Still, Porter inhibits the Bulls’ ability to add help. Though he can flourish in the right system, Porter is no bargain. He’s due $27,250,576 and $28,489,239 the next two seasons.
That’s why Washington wanted to dump him. With this trade, the Wizards reduce their pending luxury-tax bill by $5,481,617 and save $1,271,889 in player salaries for the rest of the season. Washington is now just $2,303,500 into the luxury tax and will probably look to dodge it entirely before tomorrow’s trade deadline. The Wizards also gain major breathing room below next season’s tax line, which looked to be a major obstacle.
Bobby Portis‘ biggest moment in the NBA was punching Nikola Mirotic in the face during practice, but Portis is still a solid young player. He’ll become a free agent this summer, and the Wizards will have the rest of the season to evaluate whether or not to make him restricted, whether or not to keep him long-term.
Jabari Parker‘s season has been a disaster. He’s talented and still carries the shine of being a former No. 2 pick. But he’s too inefficient as a scorer and doesn’t contribute enough in other areas, particularly defensively. Washington is a lock to decline his $20 million team option for next season.
In the meantime, Portis and Parker could help the depth-starved Wizards, who are still in the Eastern Conference playoff race. I doubt Washington has given up the postseason.
At least the Wizards are being realistic about where they stand for future season. Porter was a luxury they couldn’t afford.