Chicago Bulls: Otto Porter Jr. officially picks up player option

Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The former Washington Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr. just picked up his player option with the Chicago Bulls heading into the 2020-21 season.

What is likely to be one of the most chaotic weeks of the calendar year for the Chicago Bulls and newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas arrived on Nov. 16. The NBA opened up the trade window/lifted the moratorium on Nov. 16, giving way to a number of big trades.

And the highlight of the day on Nov. 16 so far was the Oklahoma City Thunder shipping off veteran star point guard Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns for a return of a plethora of players and future draft compensation. The players that the Thunder got in return included the likes of point guard Ricky Rubio and wing Kelly Oubre Jr.

However, important news also emerged in the Bulls camp already that will impact their cap sheet heading into the 2020-21 season, on the night of Nov. 15. The Bulls got word that veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr. was going to pick up his player option, worth just under $29 million, for the 2020-21 season.

The player option that OPJ picked up is likely to make him the highest paid player on the Bulls cap sheet again for the 2020-21 season. He was also the highest paid player on the Bulls roster at the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular season (after he landed in Chicago with a deadline deal from the Washington Wizards), and throughout the 2019-20 season.

Hopefully the production is there next season for the 27-year-old 6-foot-8 and 200 pound wing OPJ. He wasn’t healthy much at all during his first year and a half with the Bulls. OPJ has only played in 29 games since landing with the Bulls at the 2019 trade deadline.

OPJ played in 14 games during the shortened 2019-20 regular season with the Bulls in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (nine of which he started in). And he averaged 11.9 points per game, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.4 blocks. OPJ shot 44.3 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 70.4 percent from the free-throw line.

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Depending on what they do with their fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery (draft night set for Nov. 18), the Bulls are likely to see OPJ as their starting small forward next season. He’s likely to be backed up by the third-year small forward Chandler Hutchison.