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Wizards value strong connection with Otto Porter as he enters restricted free agency

Wizards value strong connection with Otto Porter as he enters restricted free agency

During the All-Star break, when Otto Porter should've been in New Orleans launching red, white and blue moneyballs in the three-point contest, he was buried under a hood of a car in Morley, Mo.

The 6-8 forward for the Wizards, who'll be extended a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer, wouldn't have it any other way.

He ignored the clamoring for the NBA to put one of the league's top long-ball shooters in 2016-17 in the contest.

He'd rather bond with his father and listen to his family's vintage Plymouth Road Runner hum. 

RELATED: Wizards hope to sign Wall to contract extension

What can I say.. it's in my DNA!!😱😱 #moparperformance #roadrunner #69 #hoosier

A post shared by Otto Porter Jr. (@ottodayporter22) on

"Home is where the heart is. Why would you change that?" said Porter, who spent All-Star week in his hometown at his parents' house which is the same place he grew up. "Population of 700. Probably 699 now that I left."

That's Porter. He cooled after a blistering start to his fourth season, second as a starter, to average 13.4 points, 51.6% overall shooting and 43.4% from thee-point range. All were career-highs as were his 6.4 rebounds.

The Wizards aren't in the same position as they were last summer with Bradley Beal, who was a restricted free agent. They moved quickly to re-sign him to $128 million. They'll have less room under the cap this time coupled with Porter being a completely different player.Wall and Beal are the two best players who are at their best with the ball because they create for others, too. Porter is best off the ball, as he relies on movement, angles and spotting up to get his shots.

Every good team needs someone like Porter, who won't pout if he doesn't get 15 shots each night and will sacrifice for the greater good. He's ego-less. But does that mean the Wizards won't dig deep to pay $100 million-plus to retain his services? They could qualify him at 125% of this season's $5.9 million salary which would officially make him restricted, allow him to test the market and bring back an offer sheet and if he does they'll have 72 hours to match it. If the offer sheet is low, that works in the Wizards' favor. If it's at the higher end and they don't match it, Porter walks and nothing is gained in return.

Free agency is a supply-and-demand market like any other industry. If there's a dearth of talent available and a lot of teams are in need of that product -- see Beal last summer with the next best shooting guard Dwyane Wade -- the pricetag skyrockets. After Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward, neither of whom are in the Wizards' wheelhouse, there's Danilo Gallinari (five years older, injury prone), Rudy Gay (seven years older, coming off Achilles tear), Andre Igoudala (nine years older) and the like.

Porter, however, has another thing going for him. He's theirs. The Wizards developed him after a hip injury slowed him as a rookie and he spent his sophomore season as an apprentice under Paul Pierce. The Wizards moved up in the 2013 lottery from eighth to No. 3 which put them in position to draft what they considered to be the safest bet. While the Cleveland Cavaliers bombed with Anthony Bennett at No. 1 and the Orlando Magic gambled on Victor Oladipo at No. 2 only to trade him last season, the Wizards' selection never was in doubt. 

If the Wizards were to come to terms with Wall on a veteran extension that could approach $170 million, that likely would limit what they could offer Porter. But there are a lot of moving pieces to the puzzle before figuring out a number that would work for both sides.

Porter spent two years at Georgetown. His agent, David Falk, is here, too. There's no drama with Porter, who avoided the AAU circuit as an elite high school player. He prefers to keep it simple which is in perfect line with how he was raised.

"That's just how I grew up playing basketball, with my father and my family. We didn't need AAU, really," he said. "We had so much family that was my AAU."

RELATED: Smacking some sense into the Jordan-LeBron and MVP debates

When he goes back to Morley, he stays with his parents. He gets the house all to himself when his brother is at college. He'd much rather talk about cars than the business of the NBA and contracts.

"That's my second love. Not a question. That's just something I enjoy off the court," Porter said of being a mechanic. "Majority of the day. Everyday, really.

"My father, his brothers always worked on cars. I was always around when they were fixing cars up. I took a big interest in cars when I was young. It's relaxing to my mind, body and my soul."

He'll be 24 next month. Porter exploded for a career-high 34 points and 14 rebounds in a Nov. 9 win the Boston Celtics,  He had 32 and 14 in a win against the Milwaukee Bucks the following month.

Before the calendar year ended, he had five double-doubles which was equal to his output in his first three NBA seasons. Under first-year coach Scott Brooks, he had more freedom and opportunities to score.

The attention to Wall and Beal often left Porter as the forgotten man spotting up on the weakside, awaiting ball reversals or skip passes for wide-open looks. He can still have trouble with physical players at small forward but he flourishes when moved over to the stretch four spot in small lineups. What happens with restricted free agent Bojan Bogdanovic and rising third-year forward Kelly Oubre, who has a fourth-year option coming in October, will factor in as well

While it may sound cliche when other players say things like this about their contract status, every bit of Porter's words are genuine.

"It is what it is," he said. "I'm going to continue what I've been doing. Continue to work. If everything works itself out, it will. ... A lot of people are surprised but with me, it's like, 'I saw this coming a long time ago.'"

Porter played a career-high 80 games, five more than he did in 2015-16, which is surprising when considering how his right hip flared up on him several times. He often rode an exercise bike to stay loose on game nights.

To get past the second round of the playoffs, where the Wizards' season has ended in three of the last four years, the roster will need a tune up. In a perfect world, Porter would remain one of their spark plugs.

RELATED: 2017 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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Thanks to John Wall, one class's final exam became a lot less stressful

Thanks to John Wall, one class's final exam became a lot less stressful

These days, it seems like there are two ways to handle an exam at school.

The first way can be considered the old-fashioned method: Looking over the materials from that semester or year in a method that scholars refer to as "studying."

The second way, meanwhile, is more of a recent, but still effective, trend: Lob a tweet at an athlete on Twitter and ask them to retweet it, and if they do, celebrate as you and your class cash in on an agreement made with your teacher beforehand.

One particularly bold class opted for the second route on Monday, and thanks to John Wall, the students in that class now have nothing to worry about when it comes to math.

MORE WIZARDS: TEAM HOPES TO EXTEND WALL'S CONTRACT THIS OFFSEASON

It started when a Twitter user named Luke took the following photo of his teacher with a sign that detailed a deal made between her and her pupils. All Wall had to do was see, and then acknowledge, that message, and everyone in that period would receive a 100 on the final test.

Fortunately for the kids, the Wizards' team account discovered Luke's request and also passed it along to Washington's point guard:

After that, well, all you need to do is check out Luke's reaction to figure out if Wall held up his end of the bargain:

Even in the offseason, the man can pick up an assist.

RELATED: THE HAWKS COULD BE IN TROUBLE THIS OFFSEASON

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Smacking some sense into the Michael Jordan, LeBron James and MVP debates

Smacking some sense into the Michael Jordan, LeBron James and MVP debates

It took about 48 hours for LeBron James to go from being allegedly "snubbed" in MVP balloting to the he's-not-as-good-as-Michael-Jordan insults after the Cavs lost a 21-point lead in a Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics.

The Cavs aren't losing the East finals series. If that does happen, then we can revisit the LeBron-Jordan debate but comparing greats who played in different eras is difficult and oftentimes pointless.

Different rules. Different style of play. Different NBA. Everything else is speculation, guesswork and a reciting of numbers and stats as if they prove everything and anything is flawed, too. 

But the bigger issue is every time James isn't voted the league MVP that it's some type of snub. It's about as ridiculous as the narrative that James, 32, was better than ever in the postseason as Cleveland won 10 games in a row. This, of course, was before Sunday's loss to Boston. Funny how that dissipated quickly. 

Anyone remember the four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the first round? The Cavs hardly looked unbeatable vs. Paul George and a cast of mostly nobodies. 

When Cleveland is on, they have more shotmakers than anyone in the East. But defensively they're hit or miss (mostly miss).

[RELATED: Cavs fire back at Beal for saying they didn't want to play the Wizards]

No, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard -- the MVP finalists based on 100 media voters (myself included) -- had better 82-game seasons. All three are worthy. If one of them were unworthy, then that would be a snub.

And for those of you who quickly recite numbers as exclusive proof: Leonard and Harden had teams with more wins. Westbrook's had just four fewer. And the best record in the league, 67-win Golden State, didn't have anyone finish in the top three.

There's no player anyone would rather have than LeBron James in the playoffs. But why is it so hard to grasp that MVP is a regular-season award? What happens after the middle of April doesn't apply.

James' offensive numbers are great, but he hasn't been a reliable one-on-one defender for several seasons now. Chasedown blocks don't count. Neither do plus-minus ratings.

If James wants to feel snubbed -- "Fourth? I haven't been fourth in a long time," he told reporters -- so be it. He's entitled to feel that way. But after four MVPs already, where James ranks compared to the all-time greats won't be determined by how many more regular-season accolades he accrues.

[RELATED: Wall should have been All-NBA 2nd team over Isaiah Thomas]

He's wise to dial it down during the regular season to save himself. James has appeared in 1,061 regular-season games. He has played in more than 200 playoff games. 

It's about what happens in the postseason. He wasn't snubbed for MVP. It's not unreasonable to mention James in the same sentence as Jordan. 

Compare that to 2011 when he appeared in the NBA Finals for the first time with the Miami Heat, where he eloped for what would be a four-year stretch before returning home. He underperformed in getting schooled by the Dallas Mavericks in losing that series. He led Cleveland from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to beat a 73-win team in Golden State that was being compared to Jordan's 72-win Bulls.

James has come a long way. Maybe he continues to make steps to add to his dossier. Maybe he doesn't win another ring. But only when his career is complete can his place actually be fairly determined.

All the rest of the chatter is just for page views. 

Guilty. 

[RELATED: Wizards hope to sign Wall to contract extension]