The way free agency played out came as no surprise to newly acquired Knicks big man Bobby Portis, relays Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Portis said was certain in February that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were planning to team up in Brooklyn for the Nets.
“We all knew that. Everybody knew that,” he said. “I just don’t think the media knew that. Us basketball players, we all knew that. … I’m not going to leak my source. But we all know where they were going.”
That decision eliminated one possibility for Portis, who wanted to play in New York. He said the Bucks, Wizards, Clippers and Lakers were among the teams that expressed interest, but his first choice was the Knicks, who needed help in their frontcourt. Portis was primarily a power forward in Chicago and a center in Washington and feels comfortable at either position.
“I’m (gonna) be playing in a beautiful city for the New York Knicks,” he said. “That’s a dream come true. … Being able to have a chance to play in Madison Square Garden for 41-plus nights, it’s a thrill. It’s what everybody dreams of as a kid. I’m ecstatic.”
There’s more today from New York City:
- A “dream come true” is also how Julius Randle described his opportunity with the Knicks to Marc Berman of The New York Post. With a three-year, $61MM deal, Randle is the only one of New York’s six free agent additions to get a contract guaranteed beyond one season. “I had a lot of options,” Randle said. “I felt this opportunity for me was the greatest opportunity. The whole fan base that’s staving and hungry to win more than (any team) in the NBA.”
- The Knicks are coming off a 17-win season and didn’t make the splash in free agency that fans were hoping for, but Dennis Smith Jr. expressed confidence to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that they can be a playoff team. He cites not only an upgraded roster, but his own improved jump shot. Bondy notes that Smith is going to be challenged for the starting point guard role by the newly signed Elfrid Payton, who was drafted in Orlando by Knicks GM Scott Perry.
- Russell Westbrook‘s age, salary and lack of efficiency make him too much of a risk for the Knicks, argues Tommy Beer of Forbes. New York has been among the teams rumored to have interest in Westbrook since news of the Paul George trade broke yesterday, but its free agents signings will make it difficult to put together a deal until they’re all eligible to be traded on December 15.