USA Today Sports

Bulls Acquire Otto Porter From Wizards For Portis, Parker

February 06, 2019 - 7:51 pm

By Cody Westerlund

(670 The Score) -- The Bulls pulled off an unexpected high-profile trade the evening before the deadline, agreeing Wednesday evening to acquire  6-foot-8 forward Otto Porter from the Wizards in exchange for big man Bobby Portis and forward Jabari Parker, according to reports.

Porter, 25, is averaging 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 41 games this season. He's a capable two-way player who also brings quality 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.

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 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. 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.

The Bulls signed Parker to a two-year, $40-million deal in July, holding a team option on the second season. The experiment never worked out. 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 failed to 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.