Right on the heels of the debilitating news of John Wall’s torn achilles, the Wizards are trading Otto Porter to the Chicago Bulls for Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and a 2023 second round pick, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Porter had been a lightning rod for the Wizards this season, drawing criticism from fans for a down season while the team continues to struggle. He’s missed time this season due to multiple nagging injuries and has only played in 41 of 53 games.
The Wizards matched a $107 million offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets on Porter two seasons ago and was due just more than $26 million this season. The team is saving about $4 million with the trade between Parker’s deal at $20 million and Portis’ at $2.4 million. They’re now just $2.3 million over the luxury tax line.
It’s pretty clear that the Wizards are sellers at this point. The team’s two losses to the Cavaliers and the Hawks within the last week show that this is not a playoff team. This trade answers the question about whether ownership saw those losses as an anomaly or not.
The only thing left to wonder is who else gets moved. The Wizards will likely make another move before tomorrow’s trade deadline to get under the luxury tax threshold and they’re just $2.3 million away.
Obviously, Bradley Beal doesn’t need to be moved to clear that hurdle — a smaller salary would suffice. But the team is also backing off of its stance that it would stand pat at the deadline. Beal is a much harder piece to pry, but this move with Porter shows us that it can be done. Something has changed ownership’s mind.
Are the Wizards giving up on the playoffs? That’s unlikely. Ownership has been dead set on making a run for the 8th seed and just traded for two short-term options that can contribute immediately — especially with multiple players on the team injured.
Porter had a great run in D.C., whether you like him or not. He’s a testament to what good player development can be. He came into the league as a non-shooter and left the Wizards as one of the most feared in the league on the perimeter. He had his faults and was most certainly overpaid, but he was still pretty good in his role.
How the Wizards pivot from here will be interesting. Just don’t expect this to be the last move they make before tomorrow afternoon.
UPDATE: Fred Katz of The Athletic is reporting the second round pick the Wizards got from the Bulls is top-36 protected.
Worth noting, by the way, that the Wizards weren’t a *true* net-zero on second-round picks yesterday. The 2023 pick they received from Chicago is top-36 protected. The 2023 one of their own they sent to New Orleans is unprotected.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) February 7, 2019