NEW YORK – The Washington Wizards pulled off a pair of swaps on Wednesday, the eve of the NBA trade deadline.
First, Washington traded forward Otto Porter Jr. to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for forwards Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker and a 2023 second-round draft pick.
Later, the Wizards sent forward Markieff Morris and a 2023 second-round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward Wesley Johnson.
Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement regarding the acquisition of Portis and Parker, “We are bringing in two former first-round picks who will give us frontcourt depth with their ability to play multiple positions. The trade also provides us with an opportunity to continue to develop two promising young players while giving us future flexibility.”
Grunfield added of the Johnson deal, “This trade gives us a veteran wing player and former first-round pick in Wesley who will add experience and shooting to our bench. Markieff was an important part of our team during his time here, and we appreciate his contributions over the last four seasons.”
Porter, who averaged 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds with the Wizards this season, has two years and $55.7 million remaining on his contract. The 25-year-old Georgetown product is expected to join the Bulls’ starting lineup at small forward.
“Otto was always a team-first player and a positive presence for us both on and off the court,” Grunfeld said. “He worked to develop into a very good player during his time here and we wish him the best in this new chapter in his career.”
The 211-cm Portis, 23, averaged 14.1 points (shooting a career-high .375 from 3-point range) and 7.3 rebounds in 22 games (six starts) for the Bulls this season. He was in his fourth year with Chicago, which selected him in the first round (No. 22 overall) out of Arkansas in 2015.
The deal ends a failed experiment for Parker, 23, who grew up in Chicago and hoped for a positive homecoming. He averaged 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 39 games (17 starts) with the Bulls, but he spent substantial time on the bench in recent weeks as the team turned to more developmental prospects instead.
His best NBA season came with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2016-17, when he had career-high averages in points (20.1), rebounds (6.2) and assists (2.8) while shooting .490 from the field and .365 from 3-point range over 51 games.
Portis recently told reporters that he hoped to remain with the Bulls for the long term through its rebuilding process.
“Bobby Portis just left the United Center,” The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry reported on his Twitter account. “All he had with him was a small Louis Vuitton backpack on his back, a pair of shoes and a Bulls jersey. He looked shellshocked.”
Morris, 29, was producing 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for the Wizards this season. He started just 15 of his 34 games in 2018-19 after he was a regular starter the previous two seasons.
Johnson, 31, averaged just 3.7 points in 26 games (13 starts) for the Pelicans this season. He previously played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
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