The Golden State Warriors were losing 2-1 to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals when Steve Kerr changed his starting lineup to replace Kevon Looney with Otto Porter. They won the next three games convincingly, winning an incredible fourth title in eight seasons.
Remember, the Golden State’s first championship in this ongoing dynasty was brought about by the same strategic twist as the Larry O’Brien trophy hung in the balance. Andre Iguodala replaced Andrew Bogut as a starter in Game 4 against the Cleveland Cavaliers seven years ago. Smallball’s commitment opened up the Warriors’ offense, solidified the defensive switch, and ultimately helped Iguodala win one of the most controversial Finals MVP awards ever. .
The Warriors named Otto Porter Jr. to the starting lineup in place of Kevon Looney in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. pic.twitter.com/QfpDIUinZg
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 11, 2022
Porter is obviously not Iguodala. Both the numbers and the vision test show Kerr’s latest decision to start small. long away less efficient than the first. The Golden State’s new starting five posted an unsightly -24.5 net rating over the last three games of the series. NBA.com/statistics. Looney’s presence as a switchback guard, screen-setter and rebounder just loomed larger than Porter’s presence in a game against the huge, athletic Celtics.
That said, don’t discount Porter’s importance to the Warriors’ championship. He is a sharp shooter that the defense should look out for away from the ball, and remains a long-range, active and intelligent assistant on the other side of the floor, even as injuries have robbed Porter of the lateral speed needed to keep the ball in front of an opponent at all times. his.
Basically, every team in the league could use a backup wing like Porter, and Golden State knows that. Unfortunately for the Warriors, that doesn’t mean they can keep him as a free agent.
According to veteran reporter Mark SteinGolden State is fully aware that due to financial constraints, it will be “very difficult” to re-sign Porter after becoming free agency on July 1.
The Golden State are hoping they can neutralize the inevitable outside interest in Looney and Gary Payton II, while realizing that Otto Porter Jr., playing on a minimum deal, will be very difficult to keep.
Porter was surprised to sign a one-year minimum deal with the Warriors last August despite multiple offers that were significantly better. His salary was $2.39 million for the 2021–22 season, more than $7 million less than the mid-level exemption that other teams were reportedly willing to give him.
Sources: Otto Porter Jr turned down mid-level elimination elsewhere to play at least for the Warriors. https://t.co/CszqvrO37w
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 3, 2021
Both player and team no doubt assumed throughout the season that Porter’s stay at the Bay would be short-lived. His ostensible plan paid off in full: Porter established himself as a viable rotational player on a championship team right before returning to the open market for what could be his last long-term contract.
The Warriors have non-Bird rights to Porter that are limited to offering him a starting salary of 120% of his previous salary cap exemptions. A contract starting at $2.9 million a year isn’t enough to satisfy Porter’s expected market, and the $6.4 million full mid-career taxpayer exemption — the only other way Golden State could get Porter back — is also certainly not up to par. this.
The only way to stay in San Francisco in the future if it suits him significant discount, and Porter’s age and injury history suggest protecting the bag is now in his best interest.
Good news? Golden State has a lot of wings behind Andrew Wiggins and Clay Thompson, and Jonathan Cuminga and Moses Moody have been earning rotation minutes as rookie teenagers. According to Stein, owner Joe Lacob appears ready to delve even deeper into his pockets to re-sign Gary Peyton II. In addition, the Warriors will always be a popular potential destination for veteran free agents who prioritize winning and marketing over money, as Porter did this time last year.
Porter played a key role in Golden State’s biggest achievement. Now the Warriors must find a suitable replacement for him, whether on the open market or internally.