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Roundtable: Where do the Wizards go after the Otto Porter trade?

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Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On a scale of 1-10, how heavily do you think John Wall’s injury weighed into the Wizards’ decision to trade Porter?

L.W. - If you believe the reporting, it’s somewhere around a 9 — the Wizards went from uninterested in trading him to moving him for cap space real quick. But I’d guess it’s actually more like a 5 or 6. The team isn’t that good, but it is expensive. If I remember correctly Leonsis has said in the past he didn’t want to pay the tax for a non-contender. The Wizards’ worst contract Mahinmi is not tradeable without giving up picks. I think the Wizards would have done this deal without Wall’s injury, just more reluctantly.

Albert Lee - A 10. Wall’s contract is practically immovable until other teams can see how he plays after he returns from injury. The Wizards still want to keep Beal, so that made Porter the “odd man” out of Washington.

Kyle Andrews - It’s definitely a 10. It was never truly a “big three” (Wall, Porter, Beal), it was pegged as such by Wizards brass. However once Wall’s injury came into play, the long-term outlook of the team changed.

Alan Jenkins - 10. Just a week ago, owner Ted Leonis said this team will never tank and that Wall, Beal, and Porter are off limits. Once the new Wall injury surfaced and we found out he’ll likely miss all of next season too — that clearly put the front office in panic mode. As we’ve seen in the past, this ownership and management doesn’t like to make changes unless things are really bad. Things are really bad right now.

Diamond Holton - Definitely 10. I agree with Alan it sounds like a panic move. You go from making it known that you won’t be tanking and you’re fighting for a playoff spot, to this. There was too much confidence after Wall had surgery like everything would still be okay. I never want to admit we’ve hit rock bottom, but I’m saying it now. It feels like the front office didn’t have pep in their step to make changes until it’s time for drastic measures.

Osman Baig - 3. I think the Achilles probably played a role in the timing but the team has had major cap issues pending for a while now so this was inevitable. If they could also trade Wall I think they would have entertained it but his injuries makes that impossible. I wouldn’t be surprised if their recent skid played a role. The “I won’t tank” statement came before bad losses to Cleveland and Atlanta on top or a home blowout to the Bucks, all while Otto has been slumping or coming off the bench behind Ariza and Green. This was a question or “when”, not “if.”

Matt Silich - The reporting we’ve seen seems to suggest it’s somewhere between 7 and 10. I’ll say merely a 7, because I think there was clearly some unrest between Porter and the team for months and perhaps years now. Between that discomfort and the money owed Porter over the next two seasons, I wasn’t too surprised to hear the Wizards finally decided to shop him — I was much more surprised by the lack of a return.

Jake Whitacre - While I agree with Osman that a Porter trade was inevitable, I still think it’s a 10. If they knew Wall was coming back, I think they could have lived with Wall, Beal, Porter, and a shallow cast around them. Now that they know he’s out, it just makes more sense to surround Beal with volume instead of consolidating all of it in Porter who will not produce or be healthy enough to warrant being the second-best player on a top-heavy team with little depth.

Obviously, the key to the trade was getting off Porter’s contract, but they also got two players back in the deal. Do you think the Wizards will try to bring either Jabari Parker or Bobby Portis back after this season?

L.W. - Maybe Portis if the price is reasonable, but I don’t think they’ll pick up Jabari’s option. I guess they might if he really looks good for the rest of the season, but I suspect the fact he has a team option was key in this trade.

Albert Lee - They may bring both players back next season. The wildcard is to see if Parker outperforms Portis for the rest of the regular season. If so, then the Wizards may try to decline his option and re-sign him at a lower number.

Kyle Andrews - Both players are intriguing, but can’t play defense. The Wizards have had scorers, but not as many good defenders. It could depend on how strongly Parker could play in Washington. If he shows some of his form from the 2016-17 campaign, the franchise could use his services at a reduced price in 2019-20.

Alan Jenkins - We’ll have to wait and see with this one. The Wizards have ~30 games left in the season to see if either of these guys would be a good long-term fit. If I had to guess, Parker is likely gone after this year. Parker is on a huge deal but there’s a team option for next season which I assume is what attracted the Wizards. If things work out well, they have the tough decision in deciding whether to keep him or not and if things don’t, they let him walk this summer with minimal damage done. As for Portis, things are really coming full-circle, huh? I think Portis has a better shot than Parker to be here after this season as the Wizards have moved on from Markieff Morris and there very well could be a vacancy if Jeff Green entertains free agency rather than re-sign with the Wizards.

Osman Baig - There’s no harm in seeing what either can do. Bobby Portis in particular might be in their plans as a restricted free agent. They have little depth at the 4/5 and he’s been able to average 14 points per game while shooting 37 percent on threes. Stats on bad teams should always be taken with a grain of salt though so these last 30 games are important in seeing if he’s worth a future investment. I would say the same for Jabari as well, but there’s no way he returns on his current deal. Again, in a season where they are 10 games under .500 and have been steamrolled by the top seed in the East twice in five days, why not take a look?

Matt Silich - If I had my druthers, they wouldn’t pursue either of them beyond this season. Parker costs much more than he should and provides nothing on the defensive end. He still has potential, but the Wizards won’t be the ones to unlock it. As for Portis, he has slightly more promise but I wouldn’t want to pay him more than $7-9 million a year. I suspect he’ll get an offer for more than that, in which case I’d be willing to cut bait. Portis has a nice inside-out offensive game, but he has no interest in passing. He is Markieff Morris Jr., and this team doesn’t really have a need for that — certainly not in the starting line-up. Let’s hope the team values him appropriately.

Diamond Holton - I‘d honestly be shocked if Wizards picked up Parker’s team option after this season. We’re looking at two torn ACLs and he’s only 23. I can see Bobby Portis remaining in Washington only because I see no reason in letting him go in the offseason when he becomes a restricted free agent in the summer. Hopefully Washington doesn’t try to match a ridiculous contract offer. BUT this is me speaking without seeing how they mesh with the rest of the roster. If they mesh well with everyone then cool, but I think this is just a temporary dump off.

Jake Whitacre - Let them both walk. Parker is the last thing this pass-happy team that lack defenders needs. Portis is the last thing that a chronically discontent and underachieving teams needs. Remember the big practice flare kerfluffle earlier this season? Imagine adding Bobby Portisthe guy who broke Nikola Mirotic’s face — to the mix.

Now that Porter is off the books, what should the Wizards do with Ian Mahinmi? Would you stretch him, wait until he’s an expiring deal and try to trade him then, or just ride it out since next season doesn’t look promising?

L.W. - Keep him. Ride it out. Rebuild the team as much as you can given Wall’s status, and don’t plan on signing any expensive veterans over the next couple years. Wall will be out for at least a year and probably take another season to really fully look right again. Use that time to draft and develop young players. If Wall makes a fast and full recovery you can flip them for veterans in a year or two for other players. And if not, then having most of your non-John Wall players on rookie deals lets you field a sustainably good team even if he is vastly underperforming his contract.

Albert Lee - The Wizards need to ride out Monsieur Mahinmi’s contract and keep him until the end. It’s not Mahinmi’s fault for signing the original deal. It’s really Ernie Grunfeld’s fault for simply spending the money on him just because Al Horford fell through.

Kyle Andrews - To be completely frank, Washington is sitting on a pile of expiring contracts in the near future. You may as well let it ride and possibly start a hard rebuild with a new core in 2020-21. That all gauges on whether or not Wall is healthy enough to be traded by that time and if Beal is dangled during the offseason.

Alan Jenkins - The Summer of 2016 gift that keeps on giving! With the window slammed shut and with next year starting to look very bleak, I think you try to trade him next season or just ride it out. It sounds like the team has truly come to their senses and is hitting the restart button so at this point, I think it would be best to start the 2020 season clean of the Mahinmi rather than deal with the lingering $5 million reminder for the next three seasons.

Osman Baig - This goes to a bigger issue. What is their plan? Are they trying to build around Bradley Beal? If they are, then next season is critical towards pitching him and putting the best team possible around him. Its tempting to let the last season of Ian’s deal play out but they will need that $10 millionin cap savings the stretch provision allows to have room under the tax if they are trying to build a team around Beal.

Matt Silich - I have always been on #TeamKeepMahinmi. With John Wall out for more than a year, the Wizards are highly unlikely to make the playoffs this season or next regardless of whether they have an extra mid-level amount of money to burn via the stretch provision. Washington should just hold on to Mahinmi, occasionally poking around to insert him into trades as a useful large salary. He’s a perfectly good locker room guy and seems to still focus on improving each year — there’s no harm in throwing him out there for 10 minutes a game on a 30-win team.

Diamond Holton - Trade him or ride it out. We won’t be doing anything worth bragging about next season, so there’s no point and waiting and hoping on the unexpected.

Jake Whitacre - Riding it out is the prudent choice. The Wizards already have plenty of dead salary tied to a hopeless season, there’s no reason to stretch the pain out now when you can just absorb it all for one season and feel better about things on the other side of it all. The only way I’d consider stretching or offloading Mahinmi is if Beal commits beyond the end of his current contract. Speaking of which...

The Wizards have a little over two years until Bradley Beal hits free agency, but as we’ve seen in recent years, stars will try to force their way out through a trade if they don’t see a future with the team. What would be your plan over the next year to put enough around Beal to convince him to stay (other than using the supermax, which may or may not be an option depending on how the rest of the season goes).

L.W. - I honestly don’t think they should try. I think they should trade him either before the deadline or this summer. Beal is a great player but the timeline with his contract and Wall’s injury is not great. Use him to get picks, rebuild.

Albert Lee - It’s important to see whether the Wizards can re-sign Satoransky and whether Portis and/or Parker work well with Beal on the court. If so, then that could be enough to keep the Wizards as a .500-ish team next season. But I don’t think the Wizards will have enough to keep Beal beyond his current contract without a supermax, assuming he gets it of course.

Kyle Andrews - Keeping draft picks would be a nice change of pace. If they were to finish out the rest of the season with a bad record (which is way more than likely), they’ll end up with a top-10 selection in a prospect-rich draft class. In addition, re-signing Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky would be nice too. All of this needs to happen with a new general manager and head coach to point the ship in the right direction.

Alan Jenkins - It will be very, very, very hard and even if the Wiz only get 25 cents back on the dollar (or worse), they have to get off of Wall’s deal somehow. That’ll free up space for the Wizards to sign another all-star because as we’ve seen, you have no shot of being a real threat without at least two stars on your team. Otherwise, I think having the burden of trying to carry a team to the 8-seed year-after-year will grow old on Beal and he’ll either force his way out or walk for nothing in two years.

Matt Silich - I like what David Aldridge suggested in his post-Wall column. Have a sit-down meeting with Beal and ask him where his head is at. Be realistic about next season — the Wizards will not be able to compete with the top five East teams with Wall’s dead money on the books. If Brad wants to go, you ask him not to publicly share a trade request and try to move him for a great package (perhaps from the Lakers) while you still have leverage. You also fire Ernie Grunfeld and bring in Sam Hinkie to guide the franchise through a challenging moment. If Brad will stay despite the team’s uncertain future, you try your best to accommodate his short-term suggestions, whether that’s holding on to certain vets (such as Tomas Satoransky or Trevor Ariza) or some input into coaching decisions. Also, you fire Ernie Grunfeld and bring in Sam Hinkie to guide the franchise through a challenging moment.

Diamond Holton - Reassure Beal it will be okay and START OVER! Begin the rebuilding phase and stop fighting for a playoff spot just to get swept or lose in five games. Stop waiting until they get fed up and want to be traded to scramble for scraps. Any answer other than rebuilding and starting over is just a waste. As they do that, they need to listen to what Bradley Beal wants. What kind of team does he want around him?

Jake Whitacre - I think Matt laid it out best. Now is the time to gauge where Beal is at and what is expectations are for the next two seasons. If you aren’t confident you can deliver on that, be proactive and trade him to get assets for a rebuild and avoid a circus. You also have to be honest about your own expectations for the next few years. Can you put a team around Beal that can be a serious competitor now or on his next contract while Wall’s health is massive question mark? If you don’t feel good about that, do something this summer while you can still get good value.