After falling just short of a championship and losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals, the Miami Heat are currently struggling early in the 2020-21 campaign with a 3-4 win-loss record. With the team still potentially lacking a few pieces to help them contend once again for a title, a recent article suggested that the Heat could swing a deal for Chicago Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. and give up four bench players in return.
As explained on Wednesday by Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, the Heat had tried six different starting lineups at the time of writing, partly due to various injuries and absences but mostly because they weren’t able to find a suitable replacement for power forward Jae Crowder, who now plays for the Phoenix Suns.
“Maurice Harkless got a look and has three points in six games. Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk have both gotten chances, even though both have defensive issues and neither resided in coach Erik Spoelstra’s circle of trust last postseason. Andre Iguodala is 36, Jimmy Butler is 31, and both are wings—they aren’t the long-term solution here, either.”
According to Buckley, the Heat could land Porter and solve their problem at the “four” spot if they surrender four players — Leonard, Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn, and KZ Okpala — to the Bulls. The Bleacher Report writer noted that Porter, while currently on a rather expensive contract that will pay him $28.5 million this year, is a “top-shelf” three-and-D player who could provide adequate spacing while also shutting down players at multiple positions.
In nine outings so far this season, Porter is averaging 14 points, 6.9 rebounds, and two assists while shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point territory, per Basketball-Reference. He does, however, have a well-documented history of injuries, as he saw action in only 14 games in the 2019-20 season.
Although he is playing well as a part-time starter for Chicago, Buckley suggested that Porter “should be obtainable,” as the organization needs to find minutes for this year’s fourth overall pick, Patrick Williams, who plays the same position as Porter. He added that Nunn and Okpala could be particularly useful for the Bulls as promising young prospects, though neither of them have seen meaningful minutes for the Heat at this early point in the 2020-21 campaign, per the Heat’s team page on Basketball-Reference.
After a productive rookie stint that saw him average 15.3 points as Miami’s starting point guard, Nunn is producing just 5.2 points per game and shooting 37.9 percent from the field in 12.2 minutes per contest. Okpala, meanwhile, has only been used in three games, playing a similarly limited role as a backup forward.