The Otto Porter Jr. farewell tour has been called for in Chicago.
Porter, who recently picked up his $28.4 million player option that makes him the highest-paid player on the Bulls, has been the subject of several videos released showing the 27-year-old partying during the pandemic.
The footage that emerged has sparked outrage, not only among Bulls fans who have called into question his commitment to the team, but also fans around the league who have concerns about player safety as the NBA enters its first season in the pandemic where teams won’t be confined to The Bubble.
Porter, who is in the final year of his contract, has come under fire for his conduct in the footage as several fans are already calling for an end to his time in Chicago. Coach Billy Donovan announced on Tuesday that Porter would be limited entering the season to ease him back into game shape after hip and foot injuries over the past two seasons.
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Otto Porter Jr. ‘Risking It All’
Fans immediately took shots at Porter, holding a Kirkland brand champagne bottle that he poured for several women in the videos leaked.
This fan was one of many who have been waiting for his departure.
I’m so ready for his ass to be gone next year
— Sports talk (@SportsTalkGxFR) November 30, 2020
With the recent news that 48 players have already tested positive for COVID-19, Porter became a prime suspect to be among the group.
Fans called out Porter’s motivation, using 19-year-old rookie Patrick Williams as an example against the 27-year-old veteran.
Billy Donovan Addresses Porter Jr.’s Usage
Donovan announced on Tuesday that Porter would see limited minutes as he’s eased back into the lineup and that his health will be the “most important” aspect for the Bulls this season.
Here’s Donovan’s full statement:
For Otto with the amount of time he’s missed, certainly him being healthy is the most important thing to our team. But he’s been back here, he’s been working, which has been great to see. I’ve always felt like before, even his time in Washington, he’s smart. He’s got a really good feel of how to play, he can make a shot. He’s a good passer. He’s just been a guy who has not been available very much since he’s been here. We’ll have to see how he responds once we really get through this individual coach/player, one coach, one basket, one ball situation and start to move to more five on five (Saturday).
Porter’s contract has been a bane for the Bulls who picked up his deal in a trade with the Washington Wizards in February 2019. He’s struggled to stay healthy, playing in just 29 games in the past two seasons while carrying the heftiest cap hit on the Bulls roster after receiving a max deal from the Wizards in 2017.
When healthy, he’s proven to be a strong two-way player and an ideal fit for the new management, averaging 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in the past two seasons.
NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson reported that it doesn’t seem like the Bulls are interested in keeping Porter, especially with the opportunity to free up cap space for a prized 2021 free agency pool looming next year for the franchise’s new ownership.
“Given [Porter’s] injury history and that Chandler Hutchison remains on the roster — albeit rehabilitating again following shoulder surgery — I have to believe there are other long-term plans for the wing spot outside of Porter,” Johnson wrote.
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