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Bulls trade for Otto Porter and Otto Porter’s huge contract (but that’s fine!)

Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker heading to Washington

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Bulls...did a good, meaningful trade heading into Thursday’s trade deadline? what?

(the second-round pick - reported minutes after the initial deal - was an addition that was quintessential Bulls)

I believe this is legitimately the first time the Bulls have made a trade to improve their present-day roster in ten damned years (the Brad Miller / John Salmons blockbuster).

First with the outgoing pieces: this completes the Jabari Parker signing as a monumental failure and there’s nothing to be praised by even saying it was the expiring money required to do a deal, they could’ve done that another way than spending $20m in cap space last offseason, holy crap what a horrible idea that nearly everyone but the people in their building thought was a horrible idea at the time.

And thus Bobby Portis is the one with some trade value here, but heading into restricted free agency and already turning down an extension (Jerry Reinsdorf calls these ‘gifts’, and you don’t turn those down!) with top-10 pedigree players in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. already in the frontcourt made him relatively expendable. Portis has been productive, and though most of this season was injury-plagued he had started to come back around especially in his last two games of scoring binges. But he was also far from a complete player and a bit annoying to watch, and I won’t miss him. I also won’t be happy when Jim Boylen cites the lack of Portis’s toughness as reason for his team losing by 30 in some March home contest. So long, flex-o.

Now to the gains, and Otto Porter is that, objectively, over what is being sent out. Porter turns 26 in the offseason so he likely is what he is at this point, but what he was looked to be a prototype 3-and-D wing that earned him a massive contract from the Brooklyn Nets that the Wizards matched. This year, his numbers are down across the board, and he certainly hasn’t ‘stepped up’ when called upon with the Wizards season going in the toilet even more spectacularly than Chicago’s. But Porter still has the profile of a useful wing: lower usage, but shoots from the right spots and hits a good percentage, plus has the size and athleticism to defend. He’s an actual small forward for a team that had none but Chandler Hutshison on this roster.

That contract is why the Wizards were so willing to pull the plug. It’s substantial, he’s nearly $28m next season and a surely-to-be-picked-up option for a little more the following season, and that’s before the official numbers come in to account for his 15% trade kicker (the Nets!).

So that’s a lot of salary take on, but that fact is actually encouraging in a way. Zach Lowe puts it well:

Their ‘actually it’s like a hedge fund see’ strategy with the cap flexibility forever since 2016 plus the sputtering rebuild has proven to be another strategic misfire by GarPax. They’re changing directions yet again. On the one hand it makes sense to, but it also exposes how their incompetence made it necessary.

Now we just need management to fire themselves in acknowledgement of this failure, end on a (relative) high note of this deal, and we got something going here!