There was never much doubt about Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. exercising his $28,489,239 player option for 2020-21. Sure enough, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported Sunday night that Porter has indeed opted in for this upcoming season.
Porter just suffered through a lost 2019-2020 season with Chicago. After a sluggish start to the campaign, the 27-year-old injured his foot just nine games in and missed about four months. He returned to play in five more games before the Bulls’ season ended in mid-March. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 11.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 44.3% overall and 38.7% on 3-pointers.
This past season was especially disappointing for Porter after he lit it up for the Bulls in the immediate aftermath of his trade from the Wizards. In 15 games in 2018-19, he averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 48.3% overall and 48.8% from 3-land. He had seemingly plugged the Bulls’ big hole at small forward, only for his health to betray him in 2019-20.
Porter has been an excellent shooter throughout his career, and his impact when healthy is notable. However, that health is a major concern. In addition to his foot problem last season, he has dealt with a nagging hip issue for a few years.
With Porter opting in as expected, the Bulls are set to have no cap space (they’ll have the full MLE and BAE) and must decide what they want to do with him. Given he’s still a valuable player when healthy, keeping him around and seeing how things play out this season would be an understandable choice. The Bulls could always look to trade him at the deadline, or perhaps they try to re-sign him if things go well.
However, if the Bulls want to make a big trade this offseason, Porter’s sizable expiring deal could be used.
Speaking of trades, the moratorium on deals lifts at 11 a.m. CT on Monday. The draft is on Wednesday, with free agency then opening on Friday at 5 p.m. CT. Signings can officially happen on Sunday.
It’s going to be a busy week.