In addition to his role as an analyst/source of comic relief on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” broadcast, Shaquille O’Neal also owns a small ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings. We don’t typically hear too much from the Diesel about the inner workings of the team in California’s capital — about a year ago, he suggested the squad might “go in a different direction” with star center DeMarcus Cousins, and sure enough, that (eventually) wound up being right — but he’s still part of the team’s leadership, to some degree. But not, it seems, to a particularly large degree.
From a recent appearance on CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Wizards Tipoff podcast to discuss the Washington Wizards’ offseason and their chances of making noise this coming season, O’Neal made a point of noting one particular challenge Washington will face: the loss of starting small forward Otto Porter.
Hold on a sec… Shaq said WHAT?! about Otto Porter on the Wizards Tipoff podcast?
— CSN Wizards (@CSNWizards) August 11, 2017
“They lost an important piece, Otto Porter,” O’Neal said. “He’s now playing for my team in Sacramento.”
There’s just one problem with that bit of analysis: it is, um, wrong!
Yes, the Kings did reportedly present Porter a maximum-salaried offer sheet in restricted free agency right at the start of July, expressing interest in paying the 24-year-old swingman nine figures over four years to become the two-way wing anchor of a rebuilding team in Sacramento. But Porter never signed that offer sheet, preferring instead to ink a four-year, $106.5 million offer tendered by the Brooklyn Nets.
After a few days of gamesmanship aimed at making the Nets pay for including a player option for the final season and a 15 percent trade kicker in the deal, the Wizards matched the offer, returning Porter to the fold and keeping intact the excellent starting five that was the basis of their run to the second round of the 2017 playoffs. The Kings, meanwhile, turned their attentions elsewhere, spending their free-agent coin on veterans George Hill, Zach Randolph (who’s now facing some legal trouble) and Vince Carter to help shepherd along the development of potential core players like Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis, Skal Labissiere, Harry Giles, Malachi Richardson and Justin Jackson.
Sure, it would’ve been nice to get a young forward who can defend multiple positions and shoot accurately from behind the 3-point arc. But for a team with many miles to go before it can expect to legitimately compete in a loaded Western Conference, going the vets-culture-and-development route is a decent enough result, and a nice bounce-back option that shouldn’t too terribly disappoint those invested in the Kings’ future success — a description that, at least nominally, still includes Shaq, in terms of financial interest, if not necessarily in a “Who He Play For?” sense.
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