Now, the nine-year NBA veteran is set to be an unrestricted free agent following a season spent mostly coming off of the bench for the Golden State Warriors.
Chicago is coming off their largest margin of defeat in franchise history, a 111-81 loss in which they struggled from beyond the arc for the second time in three games. The Bulls connected on just 7-of-37 looks from deep in Game 1 and 9-of-34 in Game 3.
In between, they got a win on the road in Game 2 while knocking down 12-of-25 triples so there is a problematic theme.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley thinks Porter Jr. is a solution.
In his piece identifying some targets for the Bulls this offseason, Buckely named Porter as a target. He notes that the expected continuity of the Bulls’ roster from this past season to the next could point them in Porter’s direction.
Assuming the Bulls keep LaVine in place, they could have a costly quintet between him, DeRozan, Vucevic, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso. That’s not at all a problem with results like these, but it does task the decision-makers with sniffing out some bargains to round out the supporting cast.
Porter averaged 8.2 points on 46.4% shooting from the floor while canning 37% of his three-pointers. He also averaged 5.7 boards, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 steals in 62 appearances with 15 starts.
This postseason, Porter has averaged 4.3 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in a little over 23 minutes per game for the Warriors who are up 3-0 in their first-round series versus the Denver Nuggets.
He has posted plus-minuses of plus-21, plus-four, and plus-16 to start this postseason.
Porter’s regular-season averages are mostly worse than during his Bulls tenure when he averaged 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 42.6% from downtown. Aside from rebounding a little more, the only thing he has done better is being more efficient from the floor – he shot just 45.7% overall as a Bull.
Buckley points out another thing that left a dark cloud over Porter’s time in Chicago.
Separated from the max contract he brought to the Windy City Feb. 2019 and the lofty expectations tied to it, he could nestle in quickly as a reliable, role-playing reserve offering frontcourt flexibility. He can play and defend multiple positions, feast on catch-and-fire threes, and keep the ball moving when he doesn’t have an opening to attack.
That is a similar pitch about Porter’s skill set to what Bulls fans heard and thought they got when he was acquired in February of 2019 in a deal that sent Bobby Portis – a hero for the Bucks in Game 3 – along with Chicago-native Jabari Parker to the Washington Wizards.
It started off well enough but Porter appeared in just 15 games before going down with a foot injury.
It never quite came to fruition mostly because Porter could not stay healthy, appearing in just 54 games across three seasons.
Fit and Finances
Porter’s 53.3 effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot opportunities would have ranked fifth on the Bulls this season behind Ball, LaVine, White, and Patrick Williams. His 35.7% efficiency on catch-and-shoot threes is better than Caruso and Vucevic while his 3.2 attempts are more than all but Ball, Vucevic, and Coby White.
Porter’s 113.9 offensive rating ranks in the 63rd percentile, per Cleaning the Glass, and his 105.4 defensive rating ranks in the 94th percentile. That puts his offense below Javonte Green and his defense above the entire Bulls roster including Ball, Caruso, and Williams.
At 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Porter would give the Bulls more length on the wing.
It is never that simple, though. Golden State’s personnel and scheme go a long way to making Porter look as good this season.
Porter’s contract played a big role in fans’ disappointment in him while with the Bulls. At $53.1 million in earnings in a Bulls uniform, per Spotrac.com, he raked in almost $1 million per game. A 62-appearance season goes a long way towards alleviating durability concerns.
Even with lesser production now, the $2.4 million pact he played on in Golden State is far more palatable as is his doing it mostly off of the bench.