Brooklyn Nets: 3 things to watch against new-look Bulls

Brooklyn Nets Shabazz Napier. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Shabazz Napier. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2. Porter could make Chicago debut

The Chicago Bulls didn’t make any moves before the NBA trade deadline Thursday afternoon, but they have been active traders for most of the season.

On Wednesday night, the Bulls took on the remaining two years-plus of Otto Porter’s contract, acquiring him from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a top-36 protected 2023 second-round pick.

Porter signed his four-year, $106.5 million contract with the Wizards in July 2017 after the restricted free agent had signed an offer sheet for that amount extended by the Brooklyn Nets.

The fifth-year wing from Georgetown was the third overall pick by Washington in the 2013 NBA Draft and had become one of the top 3-point shooters in the league, finishing fourth in 3-point percentage in 2016-17 and following that up with a third-place finish last year.

But his numbers have fallen off this season as his role with the Wizards changed. Porter missed 10 games in December and January with a knee injury and has dealt with injuries to his right hand and to a toe this season.

In 41 games and 28 starts with the Wizards, Porter averaged 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 29.0 minutes per game, shooting 45.7 percent overall and 36.9 percent on 4.3 3-point attempts per game.

That’s down from 50.3 percent and 44.1 percent last season.

Porter didn’t complete his inbound physical with the Bulls in time to fly to New York with the team, but was scheduled to take a commercial flight and meet the team Thursday night, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Having not practiced with the team yet, it’s uncertain whether Chicago will throw him immediately into the fray against Brooklyn Friday night.

The Bulls have been shuffling the deck for much of the season. On Feb. 1, they acquired Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a heavily protected 2020 second-round pick, waiving Carmelo Anthony to clear a roster spot.

They have gotten Anthony on Jan. 22 from the Houston Rockets along with the rights to 2011 second-round pick Jon Diebler and $1.56 million in cash, surrendering the rights to 2008 second-round pick Tadija Dragicevic (read: nothing).

On Jan. 7, the Bulls acquired Michael Carter Williams from the Rockets for a top-55 protected second-round pick in 2020, waiving Carter-Williams and MarShon Brooks immediately after the deal was done.

Brooks had come to Chicago in a Jan. 3 trade with the Memphis Grizzlies along with Wayne Selden and second-round picks in 2019 and 2020 in exchange for Justin Holiday.

So general manager Gar Forman and team president John Paxson have been busy this season as the Bulls are now in their second year committed to a rebuilding project.

Chicago had already moved on from coach Fred Hoiberg in early December and on Thursday Paxson committed to new coach Jim Boylen for next season, per Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

The Bulls may be looking to buy out center Robin Lopez … or not. There were conflicting reports Thursday about the veteran big man on the expiring contract.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the sides were expected to talk buyout, but Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald reported Paxson as saying he felt Lopez would remain with the team.

At this point, we do know five people wearing Chicago Bulls uniforms will take the court to start the game Friday and there will be other humans in Bulls regalia on the bench. More details to come.