“It was crazy, every day hearing the different teams that were interested in me, really not knowing what’s going to happen,” Portis said. “Luckily, on the first day of free agency, I was able to pick where I wanted to go and it was a blessing. It was just kind of crazy leading up to it though, hearing from different teams and just not knowing. But I’m blessed.”
Portis turned down an extension with the Bulls last fall and embarked on a season where he was betting on himself. Chicago traded him to the Wizards in the Otto Porter Jr. deal near the trade deadline, and with Thomas Bryant also a free agent, the team had to prioritize which players it was willing to invest in.
Portis was one of many signings that the Knicks made. Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton also joined New York to give the franchise a few more in-their-prime players to go with their young core. Portis believes in the organization’s plan.
“Just the feel, they have a great coach in David Fizdale, they got a lot of young pieces out there I think I can come in and fit with,” Portis said. “I love that they signed Julius, that’s another guy that can bang and really play at a high level. I love everything David was talking about with me in the meeting that I had with him.”
With Randle, Marcus Morris, and Taj Gibson coming in alongside Portis, the frontcourt appears to be a bit crowded. Factor in Mitchell Robinson‘s projected role as the starting center and the paint is congested. Portis said the environment is “going to be competitive every day,” while adding that he’s willing to play whatever role the team needs.
“I bring energy, I love to score the basketball, I can score from all three levels. Driving the basketball, shooting the three, posting up, finding the mismatch, just being who I am,” Portis said. “I think I’ve done a good job since I’ve been in the league of being who I am, knowing my role on the team and playing it to a tee. I think I can hone in on any role that Coach Fizdale wants me to play.”