Otto Porter

Central Notes: Porter Jr., Oladipo, Green, Forman

One of the big reasons why the Cavaliers made the Jordan Clarkson trade was to open up minutes for rookie Kevin Porter Jr., according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The team was aware that Clarkson would likely leave as an unrestricted free agent over the summer, while Porter is one of the team’s building blocks, Fedor continues. Teammates, coaches and members of the front office have raved about Porter’s talent for months, Fedor adds, and by moving Clarkson there’s more playing time available for the 30th overall pick in the draft.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • While ESPN reported that Victor Oladipo is aiming to return in late January or early February, Pacers coach Nate McMillan insists no timetable has been set for his star guard’s return, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star relays.  Oladipo continues to work his way back from a serious quad injury suffered last season.“No. We haven’t come up with a date,” McMillan said. “I saw that report. We haven’t come up with a timeline for him to return.”
  • Veteran forward Jeff Green could fill a need for the Bulls, according to Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. They are dealing with injuries at the small forward spot and Green, who was waived by Utah earlier this week, could help in that area. Otto Porter Jr.‘s foot ailment seems to be a long-term issue, Walton notes. The Bulls would have to open up a roster spot to sign Green since they’re currently at the maximum level.
  • Gar Forman’s draft record with the Bulls has been solid but unspectacular over the past four years with the club in rebuild mode, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. Forman’s best pick was selecting Lauri Markkanen in the 2017 draft, Cowley notes.

Otto Porter Jr. To Miss Additional Time

Otto Porter Jr. was expected to be back on the court prior to Christmas. However, his left foot woes are going to keep him out of the lineup for at least four more weeks, according to the team’s website. The Bulls indicated that Porter will “continue his period of immobilization and progress as tolerated” during that time.

That four-week mark is when the team plans on re-evaluating the small fracture in his foot, so expect Porter to sit out well into January. The wing has only played in nine games for Chicago this season because of the ailment. His averages thus far as 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per contest.

The Bulls enter the night 8-17 on the season. They could certainly use their starting small forward back in the lineup if they are going to make a run at the postseason, as I mentioned on the Turning Points podcast.

Chicago had high hopes for the season, but without Porter Jr. for much of the year, the team has struggled to score efficiently. Only the Knicks have a worse offensive rating than the Bulls, per NBA.com.

Otto Porter Jr. Will Miss At Least Two More Weeks

An MRI conducted Wednesday on Otto Porter Jr..’s injured left foot revealed “continued bone edema,” the Bulls announced in a press release. His condition will be reassessed in two weeks.

The team plans for Porter to eventually resume non-impact activities and targeted therapy. He is being evaluated by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Bob Anderson, who K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes also performed surgery on Denzel Valentine‘s ankle (Twitter link).

Porter hasn’t played since leaving the November 6 game in Atlanta with a bruised foot. He has appeared in just nine games in his first full season with the team.

Porter provided a boost to Chicago’s offense last season after being acquired in a February trade, averaging a career-best 17.5 points in 15 games. His scoring average is down to 11.2 PPG so far this year and his shooting percentage has fallen from 47.9% to 43.2%.

Eastern Notes: VanVleet, Smart, Porter, Giannis

Having thrived as the Raptors‘ starting point guard without Kyle Lowry in the lineup for the team’s last 11 contests, Fred VanVleet may be raising the value of his next contract with each game, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. During that Lowry-less stretch, Toronto has a 9-2 record and VanVleet has averaged 21.2 PPG, 7.5 APG, and 2.4 SPG with a .402 3PT%.

VanVleet will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and Lewenberg speculates that Malcolm Brogdon‘s four-year, $85MM deal from this past offseason could end up being the baseline for the Raptors’ point guard if he keeps up his current pace.

In an appearance on Brian Windhorst’s ESPN podcast (hat tip to RealGM), Bobby Marks said he heard from one team last week that believes VanVleet may even command between $25-30MM next summer, with a handful of rebuilding clubs among the candidates to make a run at the Raptors’ up-and-coming star using cap space. “I almost fell off my chair when they told me that,” Marks admitted.

When I ranked 2020’s free agents last month, I placed VanVleet all the way up at No. 7 and questioned whether that was too high. The way his season is going, he may rank even higher the next time we revisit that list.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been banged up all year, a trend that continued on Sunday when he took a shot to his abdomen while drawing an offensive foul. Smart, who missed the rest of the game, has been reluctant to sit out at all this season, but admitted to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that he may not be able to return right away from his latest injury, which he believes is an oblique issue. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston explored what it would mean for the C’s if their hard-nosed guard misses some time.
  • Otto Porter is the Bulls‘ highest-paid player and the team has badly missed his experience on both ends of the floor during his absence with a foot injury, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “He settles us down a bit, maybe at times we need that,” head coach Jim Boylen said of the veteran forward. “He makes timely shots. He’s one of our better shooters. And he has positional size, which is a huge part of that big wing position. We miss those things.”
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been better this year than he was last year when he won the MVP, Alex Boeder of NBA.com contends. Boeder identifies an improved three-point shot and a lower turnover rate as evidence of the Greek Freak’s leap.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Bulls Notes: WCJ, LaVine, Porter Jr.

The Bulls are out to a rough start at 6-14 and Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago argues that Wendell Carter Jr. has been the only player to make the team better on both ends of the court. Chicago is better on both offense and defense in terms of net rating with WCJ on the floor and the team should utilize him more, Schaefer contends.

Here’s more from Chicago:

  • The Zach LaVineLauri Markkanen pairing simply hasn’t meshed this season, Schaefer writes in the same piece. Both players have had peaks and valleys in their season with neither catching fire together and the Bulls have been outscored by 7.5 points per possession when the duo shares the floor.
  • Sam Smith of NBA.com wonders if the Bulls can still make the playoffs. The scribe breaks down the field in the East and believes that Chicago can still make a run at the eighth seed in the conference.
  • Otto Porter Jr. (foot injury) is approaching the two-week mark of his originally estimated four-week absence. The wing said he feels better but there is still no exact timetable for this return, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relays (Twitter link).

Bulls’ Otto Porter Out At Least Two More Weeks

The Bulls will be without starting forward Otto Porter Jr. for at least a couple more weeks, the team announced today in a press release.

According to the team, Porter underwent another MRI on his left foot on Tuesday and it revealed bone bruising not apparent on the original MRI. The 26-year-old will continue to receive treatment for the injury and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, per the Bulls.

Porter has already missed the Bulls’ last five contests, having not played since he left the team’s November 6 game in Atlanta early due to that bruised left foot. The timing was unfortunate for the veteran forward, who struggled in his first seven games, with 10.0 PPG on 34.8% shooting, but appeared to be heating up in his last couple outings, with 15.5 PPG on 66.7% shooting.

Chandler Hutchison, who started Chicago’s last five games, will continue to play an increased role while Porter is sidelined.

[UPDATE: Hutchison will miss the Bulls’ Wednesday game vs. Detroit with an injury of his own.]

Porter’s ability to return to the Bulls’ lineup and have a positive impact will be a major factor in his looming contract decision next offseason. He holds a $28.49MM player option for 2020/21 and may simply pick up that option if he has a down year. On the other hand, a strong, healthy finish could put him in position to opt out in search of a longer-term deal.

Central Notes: Valentine, Kennard, Porter, McConnell

Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic analyzes why Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine, largely hampered by injuries so far in his NBA career, has yet to earn a role in the rotation during the 2019/20 campaign, his fourth season in the league after being taken in the lottery (14th overall) during the 2016 NBA Draft.

Mayberry notes that while Valentine has put up some large numbers in the G League for the Windy City Bulls, his defensive struggles during the preseason are likely keeping him from earning a rotation spot under head coach Jim Boylen, who says a strong showing down in the G League won’t help Valentine earn playing time in the NBA.

With additional insight on Valentine, Eric Woodyard of ESPN notes that when asked why the 25-year-old is out the rotation, the Bulls’ head coach told him, “Because I said so,” while Valentine told ESPN that he “feel(s) like (he) should play.” As such, Valentine’s role and his attitude toward that role will likely remain an interesting storyline to keep an eye on moving forward.

There’s more news out of the Central Division tonight:

  • The bevy of injuries that the Pistons had to deal with to start this season has a silver lining, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, and it’s the way shooting guard Luke Kennard has responded to the team’s reliance on him. And while whether Kennard keeps starting remains to be seen, head coach Dwane Casey says he’s going to remain a focal point of the rotation either way. “He’s still going to get starter minutes… He brings value to the team. Luke’s a very valuable part of what we’re doing.”
  • The Bulls plan to keep Otto Porter Jr. on a minutes restriction whenever he returns from the soft-tissue injury in his left foot, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Scott Agness of The Athletic points to the positive development of the team’s bench, and backup point guard T.J. McConnell in particular, as a key reason for the Pacers‘ turnaround after a disappointing 0-3 start to the season. “I think T.J. is leading that (second unit), and they’ve had a good rhythm,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re starting to learn each other and build a chemistry. They’re coming out and playing hard.”

Otto Porter Without Timetable For Return

Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. is without a timetable for a return after spraining his left foot, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com. Porter sustained the injury during Wednesday’s victory over Atlanta.

Porter, 26, has already been ruled out for Chicago’s game against Houston on Saturday night. He entered the weekend holding season averages of 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 25.1 minutes in nine games, shooting 42% from the floor and 40% from downtown.

“It’s a soft-tissue injury, so it’s something that’s difficult to put a timetable on,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said, as relayed by Woodyard. “That’s about as easy as I could say. We’re not exactly sure.

“I don’t want to give you a definite timetable because it could be sooner or longer than maybe we see,” he added. “I know that’s vague and I’m sorry for that, but that’s the kind of injury it is.”

Porter is in his seventh NBA season and second campaign with the Bulls, who are expected to name Chandler Hutchison as a starter in place of Porter during rehab, according to Woodyard.

“Because of the soft tissue, these are things that maybe it settles down in 24 to 48 hours,” Boylen said of the injury. “Maybe it doesn’t. That’s where the uncertainty comes in where it’s difficult to put a timetable on. So yes, it did not settle down like maybe we had hoped other injuries have. We’re not taking any chances with him, or anybody. We’ll manage him accordingly and support him in the appropriate way.”

Chicago has games scheduled against the Knicks and Bucks after Houston, followed by a four-game homestand at United Center.

Bulls Notes: Satoransky, Dunn, Valentine, WCJ

While Tomas Satoransky was ostensibly brought in this offseason to be the Bulls‘ starting point guard, his versatility presents some options for the franchise, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. As Strotman notes, Satoransky can play off the ball too, allowing the team to use him alongside its other point guards in some lineups.

Meanwhile, after being on the trade block for months, returning point guard Kris Dunn welcomes the opportunity to work with Satoransky and Coby White this fall rather than viewing the newest members of the Bulls’ backcourt as a threat, as K.C. Johnson writes for NBC Sports Chicago.

“Coby is young. I understand it’s going to take him time. He’s got room to grow. But he’s a talented player,” Dunn said. “Satoransky is a great player. He’s going to be a good piece to this team. He has more experience than me. He’s been in playoff games. He’s been a good teammate to me. Learn from those guys too. They might see something I don’t see on the court. It’s healthy.”

Here’s more from out of Chicago:

  • Denzel Valentine didn’t play a single game last season for the Bulls due to a left ankle injury, but he said this week that he’s “100% healthy” and just needs to work his way back into game shape, per Johnson. “Sitting out, I think I’m more mentally tough,” Valentine said. “I gained a lot of experience watching. I feel I’m a more mature and confident player now. I’m excited.”
  • Although the injuries don’t appear serious, Wendell Carter Jr. suffered a sprained left ankle and Daniel Gafford hyperextended his right elbow on the first day of camp, according to Johnson. The Bulls have had some bad injury luck in recent years, so that’s an ominous start to the fall for the club.
  • Count Otto Porter among those impressed by what he’s seen from the Bulls so far this fall, as Strotman outlines for NBC Sports Chicago. “A lot has changed. I think the mentality of this organization changed. Since I’ve come here, just what we want to do here has changed,” Porter said. “With that being said, I think everybody’s on the right page, I think with all the talent that we have, we’ve come early to put in that extra work to get to know everybody, every piece in here, even in the front office, because we want to do something special here.”

Bulls Notes: Satoransky, Porter, Blakeney, Harrison

The Bulls believe they pulled off a steal by landing Tomas Satoransky in a sign-and-trade with the Wizards, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago gave up a pair of second-round picks for the fourth-year combo guard after reaching a three-year, $30MM agreement with him in free agency. Satoransky was a restricted free agent, but his price tag was too high for Washington to match in the face of salary cap concerns.

Satoranksy averaged 8.9 points and 5.0 assists in 80 games last season and took over as the Wizards’ starting point guard after an injury sidelined John Wall midway through the season. But Bulls coach Jim Boylen said the intangibles that Santoransky brings are just as important.

“In my conversation with (vice president of basketball operations John Paxson) and (general manager Gar Forman), it was about what kind of character we can bring in that can still play, that can help us win because what we’ve needed is durability and availability. We haven’t had that,” Boylen said. “In looking out over the free agents and the guys we felt we could get, just looking at where Washington was and what they were trying to do, having some (cap) issues, he was the guy we targeted for all those characteristics I believe in.’’

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The Bulls had a strong advocate for Satoransky in former teammate Otto Porter Jr., Crowley adds. Porter, who was acquired from Washington in a February trade, was also deemed expandable because the Wizards were looking to trim salary. “Otto loved him, and ‘Sato’ loved Otto,’’ Boylen said. “Otto is a big part of this team. His trade is not talked about enough. We were 7-5 in February because, first of all, we got rid of (Jabari Parker), and we added a guy who brings synergy and chemistry. Otto has that synergy and chemistry with ‘Sato.’’’
  • The impending release of Antonio Blakeney is good news for Shaquille Harrison, who is now ticketed for the 15th roster spot, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Harrison is entering his second season with the Bulls after putting together a 6.5/3.0/1.9 line in 73 games last year. He is scheduled to make $1,620,564 this season, but carries just a $175K guarantee until January 10, when all NBA contracts become fully guaranteed.
  • Once Blakeney hits waivers, he’ll be eligible to be claimed by any team except for the Warriors and Heat, who are both have hard cap restrictions, according to Marks (Twitter link). If he is claimed, Blakeney’s contract will carry a $1.6MM cap hit.