Kristaps Porzingis was once among the NBA's most promising young stars, but at the 2022 trade deadline, he was essentially traded for spare parts. The Dallas Mavericks shipped him to the Washington Wizards for the smaller contracts of Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans and proceeded to make the Western Conference Finals without him.
A year later, however, it looks like Porzingis might have get the last laugh. He is having arguably the best season of his career while the Mavericks, lacking any semblance of size or rim-protection, may not even reach the play-in round. Porzingis is on track to set new career-highs in both points (23.2) and games played (he's at 65 with a career-high of 66). The Wizards have been so happy with his performance that, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, they are discussing a possible contract extension with the Latvian star.
Porzingis has a player-option for $36 million next season. However, if he declines that option, he can extend for up to $180 million over four years until late June. After that, he would either need to opt into the final year of his current contract or test free agency. Porzingis earned max money on his last deal after re-signing with the Mavericks as a restricted free agent in 2019.
Porzingis isn't the only notable possible free agent the Wizards would like to re-sign. Kyle Kuzma, having a breakout season of his own, will become a free agent after the season. His contract is virtually un-extendable due to the relatively modest salary figure he signed for as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers combined with the limits the collective bargaining agreement imposes upon extensions, so it is a near-certainty that Kuzma will explore free agency this offseason. However, the Wizards can offer him a fifth year on his contract and 8% raises annually compared to the four years and 5% other teams can offer.
Even with Kuzma and Porzingis, the Wizards are currently eight games below .500. They've made the playoffs once since 2018 and haven't reached the Eastern Conference Finals since 1979. Despite their inability to meaningfully contend, owner Ted Leonsis has completely refused to initiate a rebuild. Prozingis is a good player having arguably his best season, but Washington's overall disappointment as a team will continue to be the story until the Wizards take a meaningful step towards anything besides mediocrity.