Ted Leonsis
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis (right) sitting courtside during a game against the Cavaliers. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

The Wizards’ decision to match a four-year, $106.5 million Nets offer sheet for Otto Porter was met with mixed feelings this July in free agency. Debates sparked on whether Porter was worth the money, but one person who proudly backed the team’s decision-making throughout the entire process was Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.

“The market spoke,” Leonsis said, according to CSN Mid-Atlantic. “It’s fair, it’s how the system works. We’re thrilled to be able to bring (Porter) back and now what we want is no more talk of contract and dollars. It should be about wins.”

Porter, who’s coming off a career-best season that saw him average 13.4 points across 80 games, was worth entering the luxury tax in the mind of Leonsis. The Wizards, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, are set to pay an extra $11.4 million this season as a result from paying Porter the big bucks.

“You know how many teams were in the tax last year? Two,” Leonsis said. “The biggest tax payer in the history of the game was who? Brooklyn. That really helped them, huh? So, I’ve never been fearful of paying the tax. If you do the research, the tax hasn’t really been that helpful. It’s very punitive. It is very punitive. So, unless you have the right people, just throwing money at a problem doesn’t get you results.”

Despite Ted Leonsis stating that he’s never been afraid to pay the tax, for the Wizards, committing to doing so this season goes beyond just chasing marquee free-agent talents — It means they can keep the team’s core players together for years to come.

“You have to be in the tax, but you’re keeping the team together. That was a worthwile thing to do,” Leonsis said.

The Wizards also signed superstar point guard John Wall to a mega four-year, $170 million extension last week.


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