Former Bulls blunder announces his early retirement

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

If I'm being honest with you, the 2019 and 2020 seasons are not a period of Chicago Bulls basketball that I often find worth revisiting. After all, the Bulls posted a 44-103 record over that span, all led by the worst coach in franchise history Jim Boylen. If I could erase these years from my memory, I probably wouldn't hesitate to hit the hypothetical mental reset button.

That being said, it wasn't all bad being a Bulls fan. We got to witness Zach LaVine's ascent to stardom. Lauri Markkanen showed flashes of the great player he would one day become. And the front office was far more aggressive in their decision-making than the current regime, like the time they flipped Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and a second-round pick for a two-way forward with unfulfilled potential in Otto Porter Jr.

Unfortunately, all that unfulfilled potential would never be realized in Chicago either, as injuries spoiled what could have been a great paring in Chicago. In the games he did play, Porter Jr. averaged 12.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting over 40% from beyond the arc. His ability to shoot the lights out and distribute the ball well was perfect for a team that lacked playmaking and shooting — a problem that persists for these Bulls even after all these years.

Otto's inability to stay on the court wouldn't just define his time with the Bulls, however, as it became an unfortunate issue that would plague the remainder of his career. A career that is now coming to a close, as the veteran forward formally announced his decision to retire yesterday evening.

Just three years removed from last suiting up for the Bulls, Otto Porter Jr. has announced his NBA retirement.

Although Porter Jr. was fortunate enough to enjoy a decade-long career and over $130 million in earnings, I think it's fair to say his career was ultimately cut short. After all, Otto is still only 30 years old and has just 527 games under his belt. Of those 527 games, he only started in 319, or approximately 60%. All of this is to say his legs hadn't racked up that much mileage, relative to some of his peers.

It wasn't a lack of talent that would hold OPJ back from meeting his career goals, but rather a sustained bout with lengthy injuries. Despite playing two full seasons with the Bulls, Porter Jr. would only be available for 54 games. Being paid a max contract, Porter Jr. would drag the Bulls down a great deal as he missed 65% of all the team's games over that span.

"For the past 11 years, I had the chance to live my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. That dream was capped by winning an NBA Championship!," Porter Jr. said, "Unfortunately, my body is not allowing me to play at the level that I expect of myself, and I have therefore decided to retire.”

If he had been able to remain healthy, plenty of teams would have been interested in his services. Although he never actually played a minute for the Jazz, Porter Jr. did step onto the court for four different teams in the final four seasons of his career. At full strength, OPJ is the perfect type of 3-and-D veteran that contending teams love to have on their bench in today's league.

He may have never come close to meeting the vision the Washington Wizards had for him when they drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in 2013 to become the third member of their ''Big 3' alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal, but Porter Jr. was far from a bust. He retires a true champion; it's just a shame he didn't earn that ring in a red and white jersey instead.