The Bulls should look to construct an Otto Porter trade before the deadline…
It’s crazy how the old adage “good things come to those who wait” holds true in life and in professional sports. For the longest time, Otto Porter’s contract was viewed as possibly the most absurd deal in the NBA. While with the Washington Wizards, Porter was offered, and agreed to a max contract worth over $106 million over four years.
The Chicago Bulls acquired him a year into the contract, and while it has seemed like it has taken forever, we are finally in the last year of Porter’s deal. As the Bulls pick up the phone before the trade deadline, they will strongly contemplate what to do with this asset, including perhaps trading Porter.
Otto Porter trade: Potential trade packages
The former Georgetown Hoya has been a decent player in the NBA. Obviously his contract was inflated from the moment the ink dried, but Porter is a solid role player who can do a little bit of everything. His career scoring average is 11 PPG, and he’s held steady around that number for the past six seasons. The biggest question surrounding Porter has been his health in recent years. This season, he’s only played in 21 of a possible 39 games for the Bulls, which somewhat dampens the return Chicago could receive for him in a trade.
With that said, an expiring contract is right up there with a first round pick as one of the most coveted assets in the league. Let’s take a look at how the Bulls might use Porter’s contract in advance of the trade deadline.
Since it seems like the LaMelo Ball experience is going well for Charlotte so far, they may start to feel like they don’t need the triumvirate of Ball, Rozier and Devonte Graham long-term.
Additionally, the Hornets just signed versatile small forward Gordon Hayward, who can also take some pressure off the guards with ball handling and play making ability. Out of the guards, Rozier is the most expensive player, making nearly $19 million this year and just under $18 million next year.
“Scary Terry” isn’t locked into his deal past next season, and could provide the Bulls with some offensive punch off the bench down the stretch. As Coby White continues to develop, he’ll inevitably have off nights, and Rozier is not a bad insurance policy for that. The Hornets would also save $18 million next season with Rozier off the books.
Mostly due to health reasons, Porter has not been the answer the Bulls were hoping for at the small forward position.
OTTO PORTER JR. TAKE US HOME pic.twitter.com/LxLhjZ9i2F
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) March 20, 2021
They replenished that position in the 2020 NBA Draft by selecting Patrick Williams in the top ten, who has shown signs he could be a good player down the road. But Chicago still has a void at the three position, and could fill in by trading Porter for Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica from the Kings.
It’s no secret that the Kings want to move on from Bjelica, but Chicago could use that fervor and Porter’s expiring deal to get them a more solid swingman.
Barnes has not panned out to be the perennial All Star some thought he might become, but he’s an extremely reliable player. He’s a career 37% shooter from downtown, and is relatively durable—traits which the Bulls have not been able to count on at small forward.
A trade agreed to by the Nuggets involving Porter would signal that they feel they aren’t yet ready to compete for an NBA championship, and might anger Denver fans to no end.
But with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and ascending Utah Jazz to deal with in the Western Conference, it’s going to be difficult for Denver to confidently say they can make a run at the Finals. They might need to take a step back to take two steps forward.
If Denver parted ways with Gary Harris and Paul Millsap for Porter, they would be basically be saying goodbye to their Finals chances. However, that move would save the Nuggets neatly $21 million in cap space next season.
If the cap rises next season as expected, they would have additional room to play with as a result of this proposed transaction.
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