Otto Porter

Central Notes: Kennard, Porter Jr., Hutchison, Nwaba

Pistons fans may never forgive the previous regime for passing over Donovan Mitchell and taking Luke Kennard in the 2017 draft, but Kennard is doing his best lately to soften the blow. He has scored in double figures 10 of the last 14 games, helping the Pistons go 12-2 during that stretch. Opposing coaches have taken notice.

“Luke Kennard is really growing up right in front of us,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “The pick-and-roll game, shooting the ball. … You know you have respect when teams come out and double-team you. They were blitzing his pick and rolls. It’s a sign of respect around our league. He’s going to learn how to handle those situations and not let that take his confidence out of his shooting.”

Kennard will make $3.8MM next season and it seems like a mere formality the Pistons will pick up his $5.27MM fourth-year option before the October 31 deadline.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Casey feels the Bulls made a wise decision by acquiring small forward Otto Porter from the Wizards. He’s averaging 18.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 3.3 APG in his first 11 games with Chicago. “That was a smart move on Chicago’s part to bring him in and kind of set the tone for that team,” the Pistons’ head coach said. “You always want to have a guy that can shoot the ball and defend with his size.”
  • The Bulls’ prior starter at small forward could be done for the season, according to Sam Smith from the team’s website. Chandler Hutchison had a scan earlier this week on the toe injury to his right foot. The rookie first-rounder out of Boise State will be reevaluated in two weeks and a decision will then be made whether to shut him down. Hutchison, who was injured on January 25th, has not been able to work out because of a foot injury, Smith notes.
  • The Cavaliers should take a hard look at retaining guard David Nwaba, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Nwaba will be a restricted free agent this summer if the Cavs extend a qualifying offer of approximately $1.9MM this summer. Given his injury-riddled season and the fact the team was able to sign him to a minimum contract last summer, it’s hard to envision another team prying him away, Fedor notes. But Nwaba has the second-best plus-minus rating on the team behind only Kevin Love, Fedor adds.

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Bucks, Porter, Lopez

The Bucks’ decision to give point guard Eric Bledsoe a four-year, $70MM extension was a sensible move by both parties, Bobby Marks of ESPN argues. It’s a worthwhile price to retain Bledsoe and keep the core group together and that should aid their recruiting pitch to All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo as he approaches free agency in 2021. Bledsoe has become a more efficient player in Milwaukee, particularly in coach Mike Budenholzer’s system. With that order of business out of the way, the Bucks front office can now concentrate on re-signing Khris Middleton and restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon this summer, Marks adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks had a much more sensible plan to build around Antetokounmpo than the Lakers did with LeBron James, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. Milwaukee has a completely different scheme under Budenholzer, surrounding its star with shooters through savvy decisions in free agency and trades. That has opened up driving lanes for Antetokounmpo. Los Angeles’ front office brought in playmakers and ballhandlers around James, Woike notes, which is why the Lakers rank 28th in 3-point shooting.
  • The Bulls have a much brighter outlook than they did at this time last season, when they went into full tank mode, Matt John of Basketball Insiders notes. The addition of Otto Porter has allowed the Bulls to improve its spacing offensively. Improved health for second-year power forward Lauri Markkanen has also made a difference, as he’s enjoying the best stretch of his young career, John continues. Shooting guard Zach LaVine remains a defensive liability but in a recent eight-game stretch, Chicago was a plus-8.2 with him on the floor, Johns points out. The Bulls will still get a high lottery pick and should continue to be on the upswing, John concludes.
  • It’s not out of the question that Robin Lopez re-signs with the Bulls, according to Sam Smith of the team’s website. The veteran center is showing his value as an offensive factor due to Wendell Carter Jr.‘s injury. The front office was concerned that Lopez couldn’t be effective switching and getting out to the perimeter defensively, but recently few teams have beaten the Bulls at his position, Smith notes. Lopez will want to test the market but with the team’s frontcourt needs expanding, his return for next season will be under consideration, Smith adds.

Otto Porter Jr. Discusses Trade To The Bulls, Role With Team

Otto Porter Jr. entered into a new chapter of his basketball career when he was dealt to the Bulls earlier this month. The 25-year-old small forward is happy with his new home, telling Hoops Rumors that he believes Chicago has a bright future.

“We have a lot of young guys, young pieces. The team is definitely headed in the right direction, trying to get back to winning basketball here,” Porter told Hoops Rumors before last Friday’s game against the Magic.

Porter, who grew up in Missouri, added that the transition to Chicago has been a smooth one.

“Going from D.C. to Chicago, I’m actually closer to home,” he said. “So [right away], I was able to see a lot of my family in my first home game with the Bulls.”

When he signed his four-year, $106MM with the Wizards during the summer of 2017, the small forward planned on living out his contract in the city where he attended college and made his NBA debut.

“When I signed the deal [with the Wizards], I didn’t think I was going to get traded,” Porter explained to Hoops Rumors.

Leading up to the trade deadline, management reportedly reiterated to Porter that they weren’t going to trade him away. The former No. 3 overall pick previously said he felt that the team lied to him.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis addressed the response, telling multi-media reporter Mike Wise (Twitter link) that understands Porter’s stance and he feels “terrible” about it.

“We did tell him we weren’t going to trade him. We were going to keep our core together,” Leonsis said, before adding that the team was preparing to make another deal that kept Porter, Bradley Beal, and John Wall together on the team.

“We actually had some other things that we were going to do, and another trade that would have kept the core together and given us flexibility,” Leonsis said, admitting that the hypothetical deal didn’t pan out.

Porter developed into an ultra-efficient scorer over the past few years in Washington, someone who’s capable of excelling as a primary ball-handler or alongside other play-makers. The 2017/18 season was his apex with the Wizards, as he made 44.1% of his 4.1 attempts from behind the arc, a figure that was bested by just two players leaguewide. Porter finished the campaign eighth overall in turnover percentage and sixth among all wing players in effective field goal percentage.

While his numbers dipped slightly to begin the 2018/19 campaign, peak Porter has arrived in Chicago. During his six games to date with his new club, Porter has a true shooting percentage of 65.4%, making over half of his 27 attempts behind the arc. His player efficiency rate over the first 191 minutes of his Bulls career is an electric 19.4.

The Bulls are 4-2 with Porter in the starting lineup, though the wing left halfway through his sixth contest with the team after suffering a lower leg strain. Porter remains out with the ailment as of this writing.

The Wizards have gone 2-6 since making the trade. When asked what direction his former franchise was heading in, Porter replied, “I have no idea to be honest. I’m not focusing on them.”

From an on-court perspective, Porter’s role with the Bulls isn’t expected to be dissimilar to the one he had in Washington. Off the court, he moves from a situation in which many of his teammates were his elders to one in which his NBA experience trumps that of many fellow Bulls. He’s embracing the change.

“I’m one of the oldest on the team, so I have to [play a different role],” Porter told Hoops Rumors. “It’s pretty cool to be one of the vets here.”

Porter’s contract has two years left beyond this season, though his deal contains a player option on the final year, which comes in at approximately $28.5MM. He’ll get to see Chicago make one offseason of moves and play a season-and-a-half worth of games with his new club before making his decision on that option for 2020/21.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Otto Porter Claims Wizards Promised Not To Trade Him

Otto Porter said Wizards management held a private meeting with him before the trade deadline and assured him that he would remain with the team, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Washington’s front office changed its mind sometime before Wednesday night when Porter was shipped to Chicago in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker.

Porter was expected to be part of the Wizards’ future when he agreed to a rookie-scale extension in 2017. However, his production never matched his lofty new salary and he had settled into a sixth-man role since returning from an injury last month. He was owed $27.25MM next year and has a player option worth nearly $28.5MM for 2020/21, which created a luxury tax bind for a Wizards team that may not make the playoffs.

Katz notes that owner Ted Leonsis did a radio interview about a week ago in which he promised that Moore, John Wall and Bradley Beal would all stay with the organization past the deadline.

There’s more Wizards and Bulls news as the teams met tonight, just three days after the trade:

  • Parker contends his relationship with Jim Boylen did “a complete 180” after Boylen replaced Fred Hoiberg as Chicago’s head coach in December, relays Madeline Kenney of The Chicago Sun-Times“[Before that,] we never had controversy,” Parker said. “I always had his back, you know, with things that we had in-house problems with.” Displeased with Parker’s effort and commitment to defense, Boylen took him out of the rotation and Parker appeared in just one of 13 games in the first month that Boylen ran the team. “I’m happy,” Parker said of the deal that sent him to Washington. “I haven’t smiled in a while, but it’s great.”
  • Portis said he learned of Wednesday’s trade about 20 minutes prior to a game against the Pelicans and his “stomach dropped,” according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Portis seemed shocked about being dealt away from the team that drafted him in 2015. “Everybody knows how much I prided myself in playing for the Bulls and how much I really loved playing for the city of Chicago,” he said. “It’s a business and I finally got my first taste of it.”
  • Porter enjoyed the chance to provide inside information about his former team heading into tonight’s game, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Yeah, I was telling coach everything there was to know about Washington,” he said. “Everything. … I was snitching, yeah.”

Lowe’s Latest: Sixers, Mirotic, Hornets, Nets, More

The Buckstrade for Nikola Mirotic was made sweeter by the fact that the Sixers were in the hunt for the Pelicans‘ power forward before New Orleans opted to send him to Milwaukee, writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe in his post-deadline round-up.

According to Lowe, the Sixers offered a pair of second-round picks in their offer for Mirotic, which the Bucks bested by surrendering four second-rounders. Before the 76ers acquired Tobias Harris, they also discussed the general framework of a Mirotic/Markelle Fultz swap with the Pelicans, according to Lowe, who notes that it’s unclear whether those talks would have gotten serious if Philadelphia hadn’t completed its blockbuster deal for Harris.

Lowe’s article is packed with several more tidbits on the trade deadline, so we’ll round up the highlights here:

  • The Hornets came close to acquiring Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies for a package that would have included a lottery-protected pick, but the deal fell apart over “last-minute haggling” on the price, sources tell Lowe. Charlotte also pursued Harrison Barnes, but any offer that included a first-round pick would have also included multiyear salary the Mavericks didn’t want, Lowe reports.
  • Before the Grizzlies sent JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple to the Clippers, Memphis discussed a deal involving the duo for the Nets, according to Lowe, who says the return would’ve featured Allen Crabbe and Denver’s first-round pick. The Grizzlies, who had tax concerns, settled instead on L.A.’s offer, which didn’t include a draft pick.
  • At least one of the offers the Wizards received for Otto Porter featured a low first-round pick, but it would have been meant taking on multiyear money, per Lowe.
  • Kris Dunn probably could have been had at the deadline, but the Bulls likely wouldn’t have listened to inquiries on Zach LaVine unless someone had “overwhelmed” them, Lowe writes.
  • The Magic told teams in recent weeks that they wouldn’t part for Terrence Ross for anything less than a first-round pick, sources tell Lowe. Orlando ultimately kept Ross on its roster.
  • Jrue Holiday is a player worth keeping an eye on if and when the Pelicans eventually trade Anthony Davis. Sources tell Lowe that Holiday wants a chance to compete in the playoffs and is waiting to see what New Orleans gets in return for Davis.

Post-Deadline Notes: Rockets, Spurs, Favors, Portis

The Rockets’ latest moves prior to the trade deadline were mainly designed to open up a roster spot and find another piece on the buyout market, GM Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen (Twitter link). The Rockets also wanted to “create flexibility now and down the road,” Morey said.

The Rockets were involved in a three-way deal with the Kings and Cavaliers in which they shipped out Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss and acquired Iman Shumpert, Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin. They soon traded Stauskas and Baldwin to the Pacers and dealt James Ennis to the Sixers without receiving any players in return.

We have more on potential moves from around the league:

  • The Spurs will be searching for a wing player via the buyout market, Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. They have mainly relied on journeymen Marco BelinelliQuincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham as backups to leading scorer DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes.
  • Power forward Derrick Favors is glad he wasn’t traded by the Jazz, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Favors was reportedly part of the package Utah offered to Memphis in its failed attempt to acquire point guard Mike Conley. He is likely to be a free agent this summer since his $16.9MM salary for next season is not guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through July 6th. “I’m happy I’m still here,” he said. “I’m glad this is over, and now I can focus on basketball.”
  • Bulls players were sad to see power forward Bobby Portis go to the Wizards, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Portis was part of the package Chicago shipped to Washington for forward Otto Porter Jr. Though Portis had a much-publicized altercation with former teammate Nikola Mirotic early last season, he was regarded as an emotional leader by the players on the current roster. “Bobby’s pretty much the main glue of the team, a big-time voice,” shooting guard Zach LaVine said. “It (stinks). He’s one of my best friends on the team.”

Wizards Trade Otto Porter To Bulls

11:13pm: The trade is official, the Bulls announced on Twitter.

6:43pm: The Wizards will send Otto Porter to the Bulls in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Washington will also receive a protected future second-round pick, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link). Jake Fischer of SI.com adds (via Twitter) that the pick will be a top-36 protected second-rounder in 2023.

The deal shapes up as a cost-cutting move for Washington, which was well into luxury tax territory for this season and was in danger of heading there again next year. Porter, who makes $27.25MM next year and has a player option worth nearly $28.5MM for 2020/21, was the most logical trade piece to provide cap relief. Injuries have made John Wall virtually unmovable as his super-max deal kicks in next season, and the Wizards don’t want to part with All-Star guard Bradley Beal.

Washington gets back a pair of players with no guaranteed salary beyond this season. Portis will be eligible for restricted free agency after turning down an extension offer from the Bulls in October. The fourth-year forward is having his best NBA season, averaging career highs of 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Parker signed a two-year, $40MM deal with Chicago last summer, but it carries a team option on the $20MM second year. He will get two months to try to impress the Wizards, but the team will almost certainly likely opt for the savings.

The trade drops Washington’s projected tax bill for this season from $8.96MM to $3.34MM and puts it $2.3MM above the tax threshold, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. Marks adds that Parker’s option must be exercised by June 29, and the team must submit a $3.6MM qualifying offer to Portis by the end of June to retain the right to match any offers.

Porter, 25, will get a chance to shine in Chicago as part of the team’s young core. He’s averaging 12.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG in his sixth NBA season and recently moved into a sixth-man role in Washington.

The Wizards had pledged last week not to trade Porter or Beal, but Wall’s heel surgery, followed by a ruptured left Achilles tendon that will sideline him for at least 12 more months, apparently changed their minds, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The move should create enough financial freedom for Washington to sign Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant to long-term deals this summer, adds David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

O’Connor’s Latest: Gasol, Conley, OKC, Prince, More

As we relayed earlier today, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer hears that the Hornets‘ offer for Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a protected first-round pick. That would be an underwhelming return for Gasol, but there hasn’t been much league-wide interest in the 34-year-old, O’Connor writes.

The Kings and Pistons were among the teams potentially in the mix for Gasol, according to O’Connor, but Memphis didn’t have any interest in Detroit center Andre Drummond and Sacramento was unwilling to part with promising young wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Grizzlies wanted.

The Raptors reportedly explored a potential Gasol deal, initially attempting to come up with an individual trade for one Grizzlies veteran before turning it into a package for both Gasol and Mike Conley, O’Connor writes. However, those talks didn’t advance and league sources tell The Ringer that it’s unlikely Toronto ends up with Gasol or Conley.

Elsewhere on the Conley front, the Jazz continue to make a strong push, with an offer that includes Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and a first-round pick, per O’Connor. The sense around the NBA is that the Grizzlies won’t settle for a modest return for Conley, which is something we heard in relation to the Pistons’ offer earlier today.

O’Connor’s latest piece for The Ringer features several more trade-related tidbits, so we’ll round them up here…

  • The Thunder are believed to be among the teams with interest in Cavaliers guard Alec Burks, league sources tell O’Connor. However, Burks wouldn’t fit into OKC’s $10.88MM trade exception. The Thunder, along with the Sixers and Trail Blazers, have expressed interest in Hawks wing Taurean Prince, O’Connor adds.
  • Following up on his report from last week about the Rockets and Grizzlies discussing a Brandon Knight trade, O’Connor suggests that Marquese Chriss and a first-round pick would also go to Memphis in that proposed deal. Houston would be targeting JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple in the swap, though it remains in the discussion stage for now.
  • The Kings have made calls about veteran forwards Harrison Barnes (Mavericks) and Otto Porter (Wizards) but have found no traction on a Porter deal, writes O’Connor.
  • While DeAndre Jordan looks like an obvious trade candidate, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Knicks keep him around as a potential recruiter for Kevin Durant, according to O’Connor, who notes that Durant and Jordan are good friends. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote about this subject on Tuesday.
  • League sources don’t expect the Celtics to do anything at the deadline with Terry Rozier, since he could serve as potential Kyrie Irving insurance or a sign-and-trade sweetener for Anthony Davis in the offseason, says O’Connor.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers remain open to moving one of their two veteran point guards, Cory Joseph or Darren Collison. Both players are on expiring contracts.

Deveney’s Latest: Wizards, Sixers, Fultz, Morris

After sharing some trade-related notes on the Trail Blazers, Dario Saric, and Wesley Matthews on Monday, Sean Deveney of Sporting News is back with another handful of trade rumors today. Let’s dive right in and round up the highlights…

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said last week that there are no plans to trade John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Otto Porter at this year’s deadline, and rival executives have heard the same thing in discussions with Washington, writes Deveney. “They’re not budging,” one exec said of the Wizards. “Maybe they’d deal Porter, but they want a star-type player back, and that’s not happening.”
  • The Sixers aren’t yet ready to move on from Markelle Fultz, sources tell Deveney. Fultz is still 20 years old and his value has cratered, so Philadelphia will hold out hope that he can rebuild that value. However, that stance could change in the offseason if the team views Fultz as a key trade chip to acquire important role players.
  • The Sixers have been “very active” on the trade market as they seek depth, but would be content to go the buyout route if necessary, after having success there a year ago, says Deveney.
  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris isn’t a trade candidate, given how important he has been in Boston this season. “I would hate to think where they’d be without Morris,” one scout told Deveney. “All the stuff that’s gone on, at least on the floor, he kind of holds it together for them.”
  • Morris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and executives around the NBA predict that he’ll command a starting salary in the $11-12MM range, according to Deveney. “Two years makes sense, but maybe a third year on an option,” said one GM. Deveney names the Kings, Jazz, and Pacers as teams that could have interest in the Celtics forward during the offseason.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Hill, Ball, Mavs, Favors

One key to an Anthony Davis trade is whether the Pelicans can acquire a player with All-NBA potential as part of the package. That’s among the priorities for New Orleans’ front office, which is also seeking young talent, draft picks and salary-cap relief for Davis, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. If the Pelicans view Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball as that type of player — all of whom are rumored to be in the latest offer from the Lakers — that would increase the possibility of Davis going to Los Angeles. If New Orleans sees that potential in the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the team may wait until the offseason, when Boston has the freedom to trade for Davis.

We have more trade buzz from around the league:

  • The Pelicans are hoping to dump Solomon Hill‘s contract in any trade involving Davis and if the Lakers were to acquire him, they would use the stretch provision on his contract, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Hill is making $12.52MM this season with another guaranteed $12.76MM next season. That three-year stretch would count as $4,257,927 annually and the Lakers would also have an empty roster charge of $897,158 added during the offseason if they waived him, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Lonzo Ball‘s outspoken father is at it again, telling ESPN that if his son gets traded, he wants him to land with the Suns, Ohm Youngmisuk tweets. “We want to be in LA. But if he’s traded, I don’t want Lonzo in New Orleans,” LaVar Ball said. “Phoenix is the best fit for him. And I am going to speak it into existence.”
  • In the aftermath of the blockbuster deal with the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the team is laying low prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “We’re not actively pursuing anything,” Cuban said.
  • The Wizards have significant interest in Jazz forward Derrick Favors, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors has been rumored to be part of the package Utah would send to the Grizzlies for Mike Conley. The Jazz are also interested in Otto Porter Jr. and Washington would want Favors in any deal involving its small forward, Jones adds. However, the Wizards are considered unlikely to move Porter this week.