NBA Rumors: Bobby Portis Seeking $16M a Year, Wizards Not Expected to Match

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Washington Wizards forward Bobby Portis (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Restricted free agent Bobby Portis could price himself out of a return to the Washington Wizards.

According to The Athletic's Tony Jones and Fred Katz, Portis is looking to earn up to $16 million annually from his next contract and the Wizards "aren't expected to match a huge offer sheet."

This was one of the risks when Washington acquired Portis from the Chicago Bulls as part of the Otto Porter Jr. trade and why it didn't make a ton of sense to flip a useful rotation player—albeit one who's making $27 million in 2019-20—for somebody on the verge of restricted free agency.

David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc

Was always going to be difficult for Wizards to keep Portis as an above the cap team. And there would be no benefit even if they wanted to get under; they couldn’t clear enough room for it to make any sense.

Mark Schanowski @MarkSchanowski

Bulls anticipated this would be the market for Portis, which is one of the big reasons he was included in the trade for Otto Porter Jr. https://t.co/fDQ1NTPXxt

The Wizards would have justified reservations about matching an offer sheet that pays Portis upwards of $16 million a year.

In 28 games with the team, he averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds and shot 40.3 percent from three-point range. He also had more turnovers (45) than assists (43) and ranked 76th among power forwards in ESPN.com's real plus-minus (minus-1.96) over the course of the entire season.

Portis' market value is ultimately whatever somebody pays him, but his initial contract demand is steep for a player who hasn't started more than 28 games in a season through his first four years.

Pragmatically, letting Portis walk would be the right move for Washington. But that would mean losing a 24-year-old forward on a roster that's largely devoid of long-term foundational pieces.

The franchise is in a holding pattern with John Wall recovering from a ruptured Achilles, and his four-year, $170 million extension makes it difficult to improve the roster for the foreseeable future. If Portis leaves, the Wizards can't really make a corresponding move to find a player of similar age and skill.