Chicago Bulls: Why Otto Porter Jr. is a blessing in disguise

With free agency around the corner, the Chicago Bulls might end up benefiting if Otto Porter Jr. accepts his player option.

Now that the Chicago Bulls have made changes in the front office and at head coach, one has to wonder what their approach will be going forward. The franchise certainly has a ton of areas to address. Going forward, it’s nice to know that one of the NBA’s biggest markets will soon exhibit competitive basketball again.

Chicago has a nice young core with the likes of Zach LaVine, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. These four seem to be safe, at least for the time being. But, beyond that, it seems as though the rest of the roster leaves a lot to be desired.

With that said, one of the biggest question marks from last season has to be veteran wing Otto Porter Jr. After a very disappointing year, where Porter played a grand total of 14 games, many wonder where his future stands in Chicago. However, given the fact that Porter has a player option good for $28.5 million this upcoming season, it doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere.

At face value, that seems like a liability. However, Porter could prove to be more of an asset than some might think.

One of the biggest things that the Bulls have going for them is the fact the team pretty much has a clean slate with its new ownership. Ideally, the team will look to rebuild and develop a culture of winning basketball, similar to that of the 80s and 90s. The team has a bevy of young players who will look to make names for themselves and improve over the course of upcoming years. On top of that, the team has the fourth overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. They will only add to that young core.

Not to mention, the Bulls will have a ton of cap room going into next summer, where the team can look to build upon those assets. But, for the time being, the team does not have nearly as much room to work with. This would especially be the case if Porter accepts his player option. That being said, the Chicago Bulls could benefit immensely from Otto Porter picking up his option for next season.

The Chicago Bulls are hoping for more from Porter

Now, it’s no question that Porter has underwhelmed so far in Chicago. In 29 games, he’s averaging 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Those numbers are decent, but it certainly does not help that he has been recovering from an injury for the vast majority of his time with the Bulls. This prevented Porter from developing any real chemistry with his teammates, which a team this young needs desperately.

However, the key lies in how Otto Porter starts the 2020-21 NBA season. Will he be the same player he was with the Washington Wizards? If the Bulls end up getting that version of him, things could be looking up for both parties. He might earn himself a new contract in Chicago if that’s the case. Not to mention, he’s still hitting his prime at 27 years old. So, on that side of the coin, Otto Porter could stick around in the Windy City.

Thankfully, the Bulls have an offseason for Porter to gel with his young counterparts. That sort of continuity is key when developing talent, even when some of the pieces are closer to hitting their ceiling than others. Porter could benefit from getting those much-needed reps with the starters that he simply wasn’t getting while recovering from his injury.

Now, on the other end of the scale, Otto Porter Jr.’s return to Chicago could up his value. As an expiring contract, management could see him as a sunken cost. The Bulls gave up Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, and a protected 2023 second-round draft pick for Porter back in 2019. Now, this deal looks like a bargain, especially since Parker and Portis don’t move the needle much. But, the Bulls did give a 2nd round pick, be that as it may.

It doesn’t seem like Porter is going to be in Chicago for a long time, but why not get what you can for him before he’s gone? If he has a solid 2020-21 campaign, expect Porter to be on the trade block. It would make sense for a team looking to cultivate talent to want to yield a decent return in this case.

As such, it would appear that Otto Porter Jr. will likely accept his player option with the Chicago Bulls. In turn, the Bulls will be in the driver’s seat, with the hopes that he returns to his Washington Wizards form. Hopefully, Porter can up his value in such a way that helps both sides get what they want out of this relationship.