Bulls Acquire Otto Porter From Wizards

Chicago sent Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to Washington.

Cody Westerlund
February 06, 2019 - 6:49 pm
Otto Porter

Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) The Bulls pulled off an unexpected high-profile move a day before the trade deadline, acquiring forward Otto Porter from the Wizards on Wednesday evening in exchange for big man Bobby Portis, forward Jabari Parker and a protected 2023 second-round pick.

Porter, 25, is averaging 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 41 games this season. He's a quality two-way player who also brings strong perimeter shooting, as he has hit 39.9 percent of his 3-pointers in his six-year career. Porter is expected to immediately slot in as the Bulls' starting small forward.

"We are excited to add Otto Porter to our team," general manager Gar Forman said in a statement. "During his time in the NBA, Otto has proven to be a terrific 3-point shooter while also being very efficient. While in his sixth pro season, he is only 25 years old and is someone who will be a good fit for our team moving forward."

Porter has a hefty contract, owed nearly $27.3 million in 2019-'20 before holding a player option for nearly $28.5 million in 2020-'21. His addition eats heavily into the Bulls' salary cap space this summer, which had been projected to be around $40 million before the trade. The Bulls will now enter July with about $21 million in cap space, ESPN reported.

The trouble was the Bulls, struggling at 12-41 and having undergone a coaching change this season, weren't considered a possible landing spot for any free agent of consequence. This trade was an acknowledgement by the Bulls of that league-wide belief, as big-market teams rarely give up a maximum-salary slot in a strong free-agent class to acquire a good player who nonetheless doesn't much move the needle much in their long-term championship aspirations.

Amid its struggles, Chicago is looking to become more competitive to create a better culture for its younger core and possibly become more attractive for free agents down the line. The Bulls' hope is that Porter can be a key figure in that vision.

Portis, 23, was set to become a restricted free agent this summer after turning down a multi-year deal just before the start of this past season. He was the longest-tenured Bulls player before being moved and was averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds. He provided a scoring punch off the bench but had defensive limitations as well.

Time and again, Portis had expressed his desire to be in Chicago for the long term. Confronted Wednesday evening with the reality that wouldn't happen, Portis left the United Center just before the start of the Bulls' game against the Wizards. He declined an interview request and appeared emotional, observers said.

The Bulls signed Parker to a two-year, $40-million deal in July, holding a team option on the second season. The experiment failed miserably. They initially planned for him to start at small forward, but former coach Fred Hoiberg shelved that quest in the preseason. Parker landed on the second unit but didn't showcase much defensive effort early in the season. Not long after Hoiberg was fired and the newly promoted Jim Boylen took over on Dec. 3, Parker fell out of the rotation altogether.

He worked his way back into the rotation with more consistent effort, but his production often felt as empty as the Bulls' lost season. Parker was averaging 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.