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Wizards, Porter fail to do deal, opening door for Nets

Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Nets appear ready to once again gamble on a restricted free agent, this time Otto Porter, the 6’8” Washington small forward. The Wizards wanted to lock up Porter early in free agency but as of Saturday morning, no deal, as David Aldridge tweeted...

The next step, Aldridge tweeted, is a road tour by Porter.

One possible reason: the Wizards don’t want to pay Porter the full five years, $120 million, that only they can offer. So, instead, they will wait to see what another team will offer ... and match.

The Nets will likely move in and offer Porter a big deal, almost certainly the max at four years and $106 million, to the 23-year-old, with a starting salary of $24.75 million. Porter was one of the top three point shooters in the NBA last season, hitting 43.4 percent of his shots from deep while averaging 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 80 games.

Brooklyn could have competition from Philadelphia as well. But the 76ers don’t seem to want to offer long term deals.

Here’s how matching would work under new CBA...

The Nets can tender Porter an offer sheet as early as July 1. Then, if Porter agrees and signs the offer, the matching process begins. This year, unlike in the previous CBA, the matching period is 48 hours, but it wouldn’t begin until noon on July 6, when the league annual moratorium on transactions ends. And here’s a twist, under league rules, if the Nets present the offer to the Wiz any time before noon on July 6, the matching period ends midnight on the 8th. If the offer sheet is presented after noon, it ends 48 hours later.

Although Porter will take visits this weekend, few teams other than the Nets and Sixers have enough cap space to make a max offer to Porter. As Aldridge reports, Washington has said it will match any offer. On the other hand, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has never paid the luxury tax. Signing Porter to a max deal would virtually ensure he will pay not just this year, but possibly in the out-years of the deal. The Wizards also are awaiting word from John Wall on whether he will sign a four-year extension. Losing Porter might not sit well with the franchise player or the team’s fans.

Meanwhile, there’s increasing skepticism in league circles that the Nets will tender an offer sheet to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. With the trade for D’Angelo Russell, signing KCP’s attractiveness waned. Similarly, although the Nets like J.J. Redick, it’s hard to see how the Nets could squeeze both Porter and Redick into their current cap hole.