Well, this was certainly unexpected.
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) February 7, 2019
Wow. We discussed the possibility of Jabari being moved, and there were rumblings of a Bobby Portis trade as well. The two being packaged together for a legitimately talented 25-year-old starter, with 2.5 years of control left? That wasn’t on anybody’s radar.
Of course, there is a caveat. Porter is set to make a whopping $55M over the next two seasons.
Yes, he’s got great size and length for a wing, he’s a career 40% shooter from 3 and a quality defender. Those are all valuable traits. However, through six seasons he’s never averaged more than 14.7 points a game.
Throughout his career he’s been buried on the offensive depth chart in Washington, but he’s still never been considered much of an offensive creator. Again, he does plenty of productive things on the court that make him an above average starter, but that’s not a guy worth $28M a year.
The knee-jerk reaction for many, including myself, was that the Bulls taking on a long-term deal at that price for a quality but unspectacular player is a really stupid thing to do.
But after sleeping on it, this trade probably helps the Bulls more than it hurts them.
After adding Porter, here’s where the Bulls cap for next few summers stands:
Updated Bulls Cap Sheet After Parker/Portis Trade
I now project Bulls with 20 million in cap space for next off-season. That is not enough for a max contract. My likely cap space includes 1st round pick. Currently projected at 3rd overall. Bulls roster now at 14. pic.twitter.com/xtcGV3GXWW
— The Bulls GM (@RyanBorja) February 7, 2019
Three main takeaways from that chart:
- It doesn’t matter that this deal takes the Bulls out of the running for a max free agent this summer. No one in their right mind could’ve possibly thought that was a real thing that could happen.
- If things do break well for the Bulls next season and they become a relatively appealing FA destination, they have enough room to be creative and open up a max slot for the summer of 2020.
- The Bulls don’t have to give Lauri Markkanen his second contract until 2021 or Wendell Carter Jr his until 2022. Porter’s money will be off the books by then.
If nothing else, the Bulls just added a fun young player, in a season that’s been anything but.