Trail Blazers

Otto Porter may hit the buyout market— Would the Blazers be interested?

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Otto Porter is a name the seems to resonate around the city of Portland despite the fact he has never played for the home town team.

He has yet to wear a Portland uniform, but he long been linked to the Trail Blazers.

Before being traded from Washington to Chicago in 2019, it seemed like Porter was floated as a trade target for Portland at every turn.

The Blazers needed a 3-and-D guy, and Porter fit the bill. 

Even after being traded to Chicago, Porter has still found his name linked to PDX. 2021 is likely no different. 

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According to a recent article by Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, executives around the league feel the Bulls may be looking to buy-out the remainder of Porter's contract, clearing the way for the eight-year vet to become a free agent. 

While O'Connor lists the Warriors as a potential landing spot, there is likely to be at least one other team ready to knock on Porter's door: The Portland Trail Blazers.

The Blazers added great depth at the forward position with the acquisitions of Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. this offseason, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to add a little more. 

 

Porter would fit in with the Blazers playing style quite well, but there are both pros and cons to bringing him in. 

- Porter is currently on a $28M deal, should he be bought out, the Blazers would be able to sign him to a pro-rated veteran's minimum deal similar to the $1.2M the Nets just signed Blake Griffin for. There is little to no financial risk in making the move, but the payoff could be huge.

- Porter is still a solid 3-and-D forward, even though his defensive numbers (0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks per game) are down, much of that could be due to how he is being used in Chicago. On offense, he can help relieve some pressure off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Porter is averaging 11.6 points per game, just above his career average.

- His three-point shot is as good as they come. In 16 games this season, Porter is shooting 40% from deep on 4.4 attempts per game. His career average is 40.4% and he hasn't shot worse than 36.7% since his second year in the league. If Portland wants a three-point marksman, Porter is a perfect fit. 

- Porter has great size and length at 6'8", 198lbs. For comparison, that is nearly the same build as Rodney Hood. Whereas Hood can play SF, SG, and even has the handles and passing skills to occasionally play PG, Porter swings the other way. Porter, a true SF, is comfortable playing PF when teams go small. According to Cleaning the Glass, Porter has played 48% of his minutes at SF and 49% at PF this season. The other 3% coming in spot minutes at SG. The ability to move to multiple positions adds versatility to the Blazers lineup, allowing Coach Stotts to really tinker when he needs to. 

- The biggest con people will look at is the injury history. Porter has battled various injuries over the years, limiting him to just 45 games over the last three seasons. However, prior to the trade to Chicago he was fairly durable. He played no less than 70 games in four of his first five seasons, and prior to being traded midseason in 2019 he played 41 out of a possible 54 games with the Wizards. 

- It could create a log-jam at forward. The Blazers already have a hard enough time getting players like Rodney Hood and Nassir Little in the rotation. If Zach Collins were to return, it could create even more of a problem. Even without Collins, in order for Porter to get on the floor, someone would have to sacrifice minutes. Covington has a solid hold on the starting PF spot, and Carmelo Anthony is playing some of his best basketball of the season. The only logical place Porter gets minutes is skimming from Derrick Jones Jr., or the aforementioned Hood and Little. If he is healthy, it would make sense to play him above those two, but that is a big if.

 

- As stated earlier, his defensive numbers are down but that could just be due to fit in Chicago. However, if it's due to health and his skills in that area simply taking a hit over the years, then the move to add him would make less sense. If Portland is going to hit the buyout market, a player that can excel on the defensive end should be a priorty. If Porter proves he can still bring it on that end, it's a no-brainer. However, if a physical test proves otherwise, the Blazers would just be signing another player to sit in the corner and hit threes. They already have enough of those. 

Even with the possible cons of signing Otto Porter, the fact he would be getting pennies compared to what Chicago is paying him really makes the move worth it. Perhaps Portland waits to really see what that buyout market has available later down the line but a minimum deal for Porter, or really any other buyout candidate, is a low-risk, high-reward move. 

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how engaged the Blazers will be should Chicago pull the trigger on an Otto Porter release.

Will they or won't they? We can trust Olshey on this one. He has hit a home run on the buyout market before. Just look at Enes Kanter.