League sources said the Kings are closely monitoring the Washington Wizards with an eye on making a play for forward Otto Porter Jr.
Should Washington decide to break up its underpeforming team, the Kings would love to be in line to snatch up Porter in a fire sale. The Kings have liked Porter for some time. A contingent from the front office traveled to the East Coast to meet with Porter when he was a restricted free agent in 2017.
Porter has been a well-discussed target in Sacramento since his free agency in 2017, especially this year as the expensive Wizards roster (currently 8-13 on the season) implodes from within.
The Kings did meet with Porter when he was a free agent in 2017, and offered him a max contract. Porter opted to sign a four-year, $106 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, but the Wizards eventually matched. Porter is now in the 2nd year of that contract, and is set to make just over $26 million this season. The last year of contract—the 2020-21 season—is a player option set for just under $28.5 million. A possible complication to any Porter deal is the fact that his contract includes a trade kicker, which would mean the Wizards—not the team that would be trading for him—would have to pay him a trade bonus of 15%.
The Wizards are on the hook for almost $134 million in salary this season, which is well above the $123 million dollar luxury tax limit. John Wall’s contract ($141.6 million over 5 years) seems borderline untradable, and Bradley Beal ($81.2 million over three years) is much too good for the Wizards to give up just to clear cap space. That leaves Porter as a logical man out, especially if the Wizards could package him to dump the 2-year, $31 million dollars owed to little-used center Ian Mahinmi.
The Kings, meanwhile, have $11 million in cap space and a massive need for a 3-and-D wing to complement this young and exciting—but defensively inept—roster. They also have an extensive collection of expiring contracts, including Zach Randolph ($11.7 million), Iman Shumpert ($11 million), Kosta Koufos ($8.7 million), and Ben McLemore ($5.5 million), that could be used to help Washington clear immediate and future salary off the books. But it remains to be seen if Washington is interested in just a money-saving firesale, or if they’d demand real talent in return—such as impending restricted free agent Willie Cauley-Stein.
While Porter’s season averages—11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds on 48% from the field and 36% from three—aren’t on par with his salary, he has been one of the better two-way wings in reason years. Last season, Porter averaged 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals a game while shooting 50.3% from the field and 44.1% from three. He led the Wizards in net-rating (5.3), and Box Score Plus/Minus (3.6), and showcased the length and versatility to be a high-end forward defender. If he can rectify this season’s shooting percentages and regain his defensive ability, he could be that missing defensive wing the Kings haven’t had since… *checks notes*… goodness, Ron Artest?
The Wizards listed Porter as out for Friday’s game against Philadelphia for “personal reasons,” but it shouldn’t be assumed that is connected to any imminent deal. According to his Instagram account, Porter lost someone close to him in the past week.
One thing we know for certain, this news definitely isn’t meant to distract Kings fans from whatever is happening in the front office.