May 24, 2017
The trade deadline deal that sent Sixers big man Nerlens Noel to his new home in Dallas may wind up having some implications in free agency, and probably not in the way you'd expect.
The Sixers need guys who can play on the outside, and they're expected to address that in the draft. And if they opt to go a different route with the third-overall pick, they could always add backcourt help in free agency.
They could make a run at Kyle Lowry. Or J.J. Reddick. But both those guys are over 30 and that's not necessarily the type of players the Sixers should be throwing max money at this summer.
One option for the Sixers could be Otto Porter of the Wizards, who is still just 23 years old but will enter restricted free agency this offseason. In 2016-17, the Georgetown product averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc, both career highs.
At 6-foot-8, he's listed as a small forward, but he'd fit in just fine with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and whomever they draft.
But as you might expect, he won't come cheap. Here's more from Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
“If his situation goes past the first couple of days of free agency,” one general manager told Sporting News, “it will cost them because some of these teams that have space and miss out on the players they have in mind to start with are going to move quickly to the restricted (free agents). And Otto Porter is going to be at the top of that list, even at $100 million.” [sportingnews.com]
So what does the Noel trade have to do with all this?
According to Deveney, the Sixers are among the teams interested in making an offer to Porter. And one of the other teams that was reportedly interested in adding Porter, the Mavericks, are now more likely to offer Noel a max deal instead.
The Nets have long been rumored to be willing to pay up for Porter. The Wizards caught a break when the Mavericks traded for Nerlens Noel, another restricted free agent, because Dallas intends to make him an offer in the max range — the Mavs had intended to pursue Porter. League sources suggest the Magic and Sixers will also consider making offers for Porter. [sportingnews.com]
Unfortunately, the Wizards don't plan on just giving up on Porter, even though they already have Wall ($18 million next year) and Beal ($23.7 million). And because he's a restricted free agent, Washington not only has the ability to offer a year more than anyone else, they also have the right to match.
Their problem, however, is a max deal for Porter would mean that he's making more money than both those guys. Beyond that, the Wizards would also have a ton of money tied up in their top three guys.
The salary cap for next season is expected to come in at $101 million, with a luxury tax threshold of $121 million. About 70 percent of their cap, then, will be spent on their first three players. They’re committed to $37 million for Markieff Morris, Ian Mahinmi and Marcin Gortat (possible trade bait), which means six players will put them over the cap and within striking range of the luxury tax. [sportingnews.com]
And because of that, Washington is in a tough spot. Could it be enough for them to begrudgingly let Porter walk? We'll see, but even if they do, it seems like the Sixers will still face some tough competition if they hope to sign him.
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