But as the Wizards sputtered and stagnated the past two seasons, Porter’s career appeared to stall as well. He wanted more, much like the team wanted more from him, but neither party could figure out how to make that happen. “He needed to get out of Washington. It was a blessing in disguise for him,” Porter Sr. said of the trade. “He needed to move on, because his career wasn’t going anywhere there. It had been my feeling all along that he was going to have to break away from Washington at some point. Because it was limiting there. Circumstances weren’t ideal for him b­­­ecause he didn’t get to show what he’s capable of doing. And then I think a lot of it is, they just, in my opinion, did not use him the way they should have. He’s going to get the opportunity now.”
Although he can’t change what folks see in him physically, Porter would like to use his new opportunity with the Bulls to change some of the misconceptions about his game that hounded him in nearly six seasons with the Wizards. Porter has always been more than what he revealed on the surface, choosing to contain his passion with limited outward displays and to unveil his dedication to his work through the results. He’s a true native of the Show Me State, short on words and wasted histrionics. “He’s never been outspoken,” Porter’s father, Otto Sr. said in a telephone interview. “I’ve always told him, you play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, it’ll speak for him.”
A month-and-a-half later, Parker is playing his best ball of the season and is readying to return to Chicago for a second time. The Wizards, who played there two days after acquiring the 24-year-old, will face the Bulls again Wednesday. And Parker has no regrets about his partial season with the Bulls, all the way down to his now infamous comments about not getting paid to defend. “It was a learning experience for me,” Parker told The Athletic. “You can’t be real with everybody, because they’re not real, themselves. And I wasn’t meaning that defense isn’t important, but we gotta be real.”