Before Wednesday night's trade, Bobby Portis was my favorite player on the Bulls. The energy he brought to the floor on a nightly basis was reminiscent of Joakim Noah, and it was clear Portis wanted to be in a Bulls' uniform for years to come. The front office (not necessarily known for its loyalty) had different plans, however, and shipped Portis, Jabari Parker, and a 2023 second-round pick to the Washington Wizards for Otto Porter. It was a heartbreaker, especially since it happened 30 minutes before tip-off, but seeing your favorite player traded for a $50 million not-so-great contract stings.
It's no secret that I hate the Bulls' front office leaders, Gar Forman and John Paxson, but this trade made me furious. I get that Otto Porter is a really solid player and no free agents were going to sign this summer, but Bobby Portis would've been a great foundational player for the future. Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. are obviously the frontcourt building blocks moving forward, but Portis would've been the perfect Sixth Man. Not only does he possess leadership abilities and bring hard-to-match energy to the hardwood, he can score. In only 24 minutes per game with the Bulls this season, Portis averaged 14.1 points on about 45% shooting; that kind of scoring efficiency would be welcomed on just about any team, and he's going to thrive in an extended role on the Wizards. In fact, he already has; Bobby dropped 30 points last night in his Wizards debut, and this scoring burst should only continue. In the game before the trade, Portis scored 33, so going alongside his first game in DC, he became the first player in NBA history to score 30+ points in back-to-back games with different franchises. That's a stat I never really thought of, but it's actually a really cool one and having a former Bull associated with it makes it even better.
Since the trade, Portis hasn't been quiet about his newly-formed disdain for the Bulls' front office, especially VP of Basketball Ops John Paxson. A major reason for dealing Portis is that he's set to be a restricted free agent this summer and was looking to command around $15-16 million annually. After feeling a bit low-balled by the Bulls' contract extension offer in October, Portis decided to bet on himself before re-signing. There was a sprained MCL that held him out at the beginning of the year followed by a sprained ankle, but Portis has been displaying his value as of late; hopefully he really shows it tonight.
Tonight the Wizards play the Bulls in Chicago; obviously Portis' first game back in Chicago. There's almost no doubt in my mind that he's about to go on an absolute tear tonight. I don't think it's outrageous to say that he'll probably top his career-high for points (38). Portis is the type of player to hold massive grudges and make his enemies pay. There's nothing I want more than for him to ball the fuck out tonight and stare Gar Forman right in his beyond-stupid, melted looking face. I have a feeling that this trade is going to bring out the inner monster in Portis, and I really hope he turns into an All-Star (or Hall of Famer) out of spite. The way he's responded to this trade has been perfect (in my eyes), and not only was Portis my favorite Bull, he's now one of my favorite players in general. Help Chicago keep the tank on and absolutely decimate us tonight, Bobby. The team deserves it.