Could a Boston Celtics-Otto Porter Jr. union come to fruition after all?

There has been chatter that the Jazz may buy out Otto Porter Jr. The Celtics wanted Porter at the NBA Trade Deadline, so if he gets bought out, maybe the door's not shut on the Celtics getting him after all.

Feb 14, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA;  Utah Jazz forward Otto Porter Jr. (22)
Feb 14, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) / Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
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Ever since the Boston Celtics acquired the Grant Williams Trade Exception in 2023, Otto Porter Jr.'s name has floated around quite a bit for the Cs. Back in October, I mentioned Porter as one of the bigs the Celtics could target with the TPE. I outlined the pros and cons of Porter, which still rings true almost half a year later.

"At 6’8” with a 7’1” wingspan, Porter can be a stretch big on a winning team, much like he was when he won a title with the Warriors in 2022. Porter thrived playing as a hybrid power forward/center for the Warriors, and they benefited from his size combined with his shooting – 39% career shooter from distance, per Basketball-Reference – that helped them win their fourth title in the Steph Curry era.

"But sadly, Porter’s one season of relatively clean health appeared to be a flash in the span. Outside of his lone year in the Bay Area, Porter has played 50 regular season games total since the 2019-20 season. Not a typo. The Celtics know all about acquiring players with injury histories, and Porter would come with the most risks out of anyone Brad Stevens has ever acquired."

Nothing has changed since then. Porter has only appeared in 15 games this season, and he hasn't done anything to prove he's still as productive now as he was when he played in Golden State. Despite that, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported on February 8 that Porter was one of the Celtics' trade targets with the Williams TPE, but instead, Porter was traded to the Jazz, where he may not be for long.

On February 21, The Athletic's Tony Jones reported that the Jazz had sent Porter home for him to evaluate his options. Jones also mentioned that one of Porter's options was a buyout and that he's fully healthy. Jones also concluded that Utah plans to play Taylor Hendricks going forward, meaning there's little use for someone like Porter on their squad. So, if that buyout comes to fruition, could the Cs swoop in and grab Porter if and when he clears waivers? It'd be hard to believe they wouldn't try since their interest in him has been confirmed in recent weeks.

I already outlined the pros and cons of Porter above, and I also explained why buyout guys like Porter and Danilo Gallinari would be hesitant to come to Boston midseason.

TLDR: their main priority is to prove that they can still play. In Boston, they wouldn't get that chance. However, Porter's case may differ slightly from someone like Gallinari's.

Why the Boston Celtics might appeal to Otto Porter Jr.

Believe it or not, the main rationale for Porter choosing to join the Celtics following a buyout won't start and end with the fact that they can give him a chance to get another title because DUH. Boston holds that appeal to any free agent they would court mid-season. In Porter's case, Boston would appeal to him because they can start building up his value as a player again little by little.

Right now, Porter's value isn't next to nothing. It's nothing, period. As harsh as it sounds, he didn't help Toronto much besides taking up a roster spot. He was traded primarily to match salaries so the Raptors could acquire Kelly Olynyk. Despite what he did two years ago, will teams really trust his durability when he's proven for almost a half-decade now how fragile he is? Signing with Boston would give him a smaller role than what he's used to, but perhaps thriving in spot minutes could be the first step toward him proving he can still handle the rigors of an NBA schedule.

Would he have a bigger role elsewhere? Of course, he would, which is why Porter coming to Boston isn't likely if that's what he wants, which he likely would. However, proving himself as a specialist in a lesser role for a team trying to win a title would potentially give Porter a more extensive look for interested suitors this coming offseason than if he was given a bigger role for a team that doesn't have nearly the same expectations the Celtics do.

Believe it or not, Otto Porter Jr. is only 30 years old. He has time to re-establish his value as a player. After spending so much time on the shelf, it may not be the best idea for him to be thrust back into a regular rotation when he's only proven to do that once in the last five years. The Celtics may not be able to offer him a rotation spot, but they would offer him the chance to slowly work himself back into NBA life. Oh, and a chance at another ring on top of it.