The Orlando Magic appear to be intent on blowing up their roster ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, and trading Nikola Vucevic was their first big move.
The Magic have traded Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls for Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks, according to multiple reports.
Vucevic, 30, made his second All-Star appearance this year and is averaging a career-high 24.5 points per game. The 6-foot-11 center has become one of the best scorers in the NBA. He is also averaging 11.8 rebounds per game.
The Bulls are 19-24 and just 1.5 games behind the eight-place Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. They wanted to make a big splash at the deadline by acquiring a player who can be a cornerstone player alongside Zach LaVine. Vucevic should be just that for them.
Trading Vucevic will likely be the first of at least two big moves the Magic make in advance of Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline. They are also expected to move Aaron Gordon, who wants out of Orlando.
Otto Porter’s Chicago Bulls career may be coming to an end before too long.
Porter signed a 4-year, $106.5 million contract with the Washington Wizards three years ago and was traded to the Bulls last year. He has a $28.49 million option for next season that he almost certainly will exercise. Beyond that, he probably will have to find a new team.
NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson was answering fan mail for an article he published on Thursday. One of the questions was about Porter, and Johnson said he believes the Bulls will likely look for other answers at the wing position after Porter’s contract expires.
Porter dealt with a broken foot this season and has only played in 29 games for the Bulls since they acquired him from Washington. He’s a good player when healthy, but he hasn’t been healthy for Chicago.
Porter is averaging just 11.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this season and shooting 38.7 percent on threes. His Bulls were among the eight teams that did not qualify for the resumed season in Orlando, leaving players upset.
Otto Porter says the Washington Wizards lied to him about his trade status.
Porter was dealt by the Wizards to the Chicago Bulls in a salary dump on Wednesday. Saturday’s game against his former team was his second with Chicago. Before the game, Porter said the Wizards told him he wouldn’t be traded, according to The Athletic’s Fred Katz.
Just like Katz noted, team owner Ted Leonsis said a week before the deadline that the Wizards would not be tearing things down and trading their core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Porter. But then Wall suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon that will take him out for a year. They decided to start changing up the roster after that and unloaded Porter.
We can understand the Wizards abruptly changing their stance after learning of Wall’s surgery, but it’s still a bad look to lead a player to believe one thing and do another.
The Washington Wizards were looking to trade Otto Porter and have found a taker in the Chicago Bulls.
The Wizards dealt Porter to the Bulls for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker on Wednesday, as first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Porter is in the second season of a four-year, $106 million deal that the Wizards matched after he signed an offer sheet with Brooklyn in the summer of 2017. He is making $26 million this season, $27.2 million next season, and has a player option for $28.4 million the season after that, which he would likely pick up.
Porter will instantly become Chicago’s highest-paid player. Parker is making $20 million this season and has a team option at $20 million for next season that Washington would likely decline. He has been in and out of the Bulls’ rotation this season. Portis is set to become a restricted free agent, so either Washington has desires about signing him long term or they wouldn’t mind losing both players after the season.
Washington recently learned that John Wall suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon, which not only has thrown off their plans for this season but also next season. It makes sense for them to start tearing things down somewhat while Wall is out.
David Aldridge added some other motivations for Washington making this deal:
The calendar has flipped to November, Daylight Savings Time is no more, and most teams have played their first ten games or so, leaving roughly 72 contests remaining on the schedule. Of course, that can only mean one thing: [sounds airhorn] it’s Overreaction Season. And perhaps the most sacred of all the Overreaction Season traditions is fangirling over those who have successfully turned those 3 a.m. Instagram workouts and that reported 15 pounds of extra muscle into greater productivity on the court. Standing high above the rest of the field, here are the 12 most improved players of the 2017-18 season so far:
Kristaps Porzingis, PF, New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony’s departure was all that was needed for our Latvian messiah to reveal himself fully. Porzingis has mutated into a nightly 30-point scoring threat now that he is the focal point of the Knickerbockers’ offense (sometimes even 40 as he proved on Sunday night in a comeback win over the Indiana Pacers), and he has been stunningly efficient despite the massive increase in volume (a career-high 50.0 percent shooting). One of Porzingis’ teammates thinks his scorching start should place him squarely in the MVP conversation. I might even take it a step further and call for beatification if he continues to flex with end-to-end displays of power like this:
Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Spacing saves. With Carmelo Anthony starting at power forward instead of Taj Gibson, and Paul George stretching out opposing defenses instead of Victor Oladipo, Adams can finally rumble down the lane to his heart’s content for the Thunder. He has responded to the opportunity in kind with his best season both scoring (12.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.3 boards). Toss in his intimidating interior defense, and this mustachioed maestro looks like he’s worth every penny of the $100 million that Oklahoma City invested in him last season. What else is there to say? Funaki is a force.
Aaron Gordon, PF, Orlando Magic
The Wizards showed they were serious about keeping Otto Porter by matching the offer sheet from the Nets.
Earlier in the week, Porter agreed to a $106 million max deal with the Nets. It had been reported Washington would match any offers Porter received and, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post reports, the Wizards did just that on Saturday.
This past season, Porter finished fourth in the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award voting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Rudy Gobert. In his fourth season, the 24-year-old forward posted career-highs in points (13.4), rebounds (6.4), and steals (1.5) per game. Porter also finished fourth in the league in three-point percentage (43.4).
The Washington Wizards made a move on Friday that seems to have a more significant meaning.
The Wizards renounced the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic is set to sign with the Indiana Pacers on a two-year, $21 million deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Bogdanovic is a good player and not someone the already depth-deprived Wizards would want to let go. So why are they doing so? They need salary cap space to sign Otto Porter.
Porter signed a four-year, $106 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets. Because Porter was a restricted free agent, the Wizards have the opportunity to match his offer. By shedding Bogdanovic and the salary he commands, the Wizards are freeing up more room for Porter.
Washington is already in a very tough spot with the salary cap and will have to pay into the luxury tax most likely, but at least they will be able to keep Porter, which could help their chances of retaining John Wall long-term.
If the Washington Wizards want to keep Otto Porter moving forward, it’s going to cost them a lot of money.
Porter agreed to a four-year, $106 million max deal with the Brooklyn Nets, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
Porter is a restricted free agent, which means the Wizards will have a chance to match the offer. As of now, they’re planning to do so.
The Wizards already have $91 million committed for next season, and that doesn’t include what they’d have to pay Porter if they match the contract. They almost certainly will not be able to afford both him and Bojan Bogdanovic, who is also a restricted free agent.
One big obstacle for the Wizards is the $48 million they have committed to Ian Mahinmi over the next three seasons. That’s eating up a big chunk of their cap. If they choose to match on Porter’s contract, they probably will have to lose Bogdanovic and cut some other salary or be forced to pay a hefty amount in the luxury tax.
Whatever happens this offseason, it sounds as though Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. is in line for a major payday.
The restricted free agent reportedly has a max offer sheet in hand from the Sacramento Kings, a deal that would pay him roughly $100 million, but has yet to commit. However, whatever he does end up doing will be matched by the Wizards.
Spears goes on to note that some within the league think Washington is bluffing in an attempt to dissuade teams from making an offer, although if that was indeed the case, it does not seem to have worked.
The Wizards were reportedly willing to part with Porter in the right situation. With Bradley Beal signed to a big-money deal and John Wall possibly signing one, Porter may be a luxury Washington can’t afford.
The Washington Wizards are apparently feeling lucky.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports on Friday that the Wizards would “likely” deal forward Otto Porter plus one protected pick to rent Paul George for a year.
The 24-year-old Porter, an up-and-coming 3-and-D combo forward, is a restricted free agent this offseason, so for now, any deal involving him would have to be of the sign-and-trade variety. Meanwhile, the longer the Indiana Pacers wait to trade George, the lower his trade value will presumably get (as we are beginning to see).
The Wizards came within one win of an Eastern Conference Finals berth last season, and swinging such a trade for George, rental or not, would prevent them from having to commit major long-term money to Porter, keeping the books clear for future free agent pursuits. Does the team want to go all-in now as franchise player John Wall enters his prime or are they looking to plan for the next several years with Porter as a core member instead? That’s the question that may ultimately determine their course of action here.