Bobby Portis

Atlantic Notes: Portis, Celtics, Fall, Sixers, Kurucs

Knicks forward Bobby Portis was ejected from Tuesday’s game against the Lakers for a vicious swipe that knocked Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out of the game. Portis was fined $25K for “recklessly making contact” above KCP’s shoulders (he hit him in the head) and the big man has apologized for the incident.

“It wasn’t intentional at all,” Portis said (via Alex Smith of SNY.tv). “Went for the ball. Apologies to Caldwell-Pope. Happy to see him back on the court doing his thing. My intent is never to hurt anyone or anything. Just tried to make a play on the ball, missed the ball, and hit him in the head.

“Like I said, that’s not my intent to hurt anybody, but I do apologize and I am sincere for it.”

Portis, who signed a two-year deal with a team option on the 2020/21 campaign this past offseason, could be on the move in the coming weeks — at least one recent report indicated that he has drawn some trade interest.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:

  • A year ago, a surprisingly strong Kings’ season meant that the first-round draft pick they sent to the Celtics wasn’t as valuable as initially believed. That may happen to the C’s again in 2020 with the pick the Grizzlies owe them. Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston explores how Memphis’ recent hot streak has affected the value of that top-six-protected first-rounder.
  • In an interview with ESPN (video link), beloved Celtics rookie Tacko Fall spoke about his road to the NBA and how he has adjusted to fame.
  • Derek Bodner of Rich Hofmann of The Athletic preview the Sixers‘ trade options and examine whether Matisse Thybulle should be viewed as untouchable. Their verdict? Moving Thybulle should only be considered if the team has a chance to acquire an impact player in a major deal.
  • Prosecutors from Brooklyn’s District Attorney’s Office turned over the evidence against Nets forward Rodions Kurucs this week in his domestic violence case, writes Andrew Denney of The New York Post. Kurucs, who is facing a series of charges that include third-degree assault and second-degree harassment, is due back in court on February 11.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Knicks May Not Be Sellers At Trade Deadline

Given the state of the Knicks, one would assume the team will look to trade away its veterans before the trade deadline and accumulate assets for the future. However, Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears that rival clubs are getting the impression that New York isn’t solely focused on being sellers and accumulating draft picks and young players.

Opposing front offices believe that the Knicks have veterans that could help round out a playoff team, both this season and in future years. Teams have previously expressed interest in Dennis Smith Jr., Marcus Morris, and Bobby Portis and Begley notes that the team has likely had conversations about other players as well.

What happens with Morris will be particularly interesting. The forward signed a one-year, $15MM contract with New York this offseason after spurning San Antonio, and the franchise believes he could have long-term value to the club. The Knicks have been impressed by his play and his leadership so far this season.

The organization is 10-27 on the season and is on its second coach of the campaign.

Knicks Rumors: Trades, Portis, Fizdale, Davis

Several teams who have been in touch recently with the Knicks have come away with the impression that the team isn’t simply looking to trade for rebuilding assets such as draft picks, expiring contracts, and young prospects, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Those teams say New York has shown interest in acquiring “starter-level players” who can help the team in the short term as well as in the future, sources tell Begley.

While seeking only short-term upgrades would be a mistake for the 10-27 Knicks, it makes sense for the club to consider a variety of trade options rather than focusing exclusively on dumping its veterans for draft picks. Still, it’s hard to envision many scenarios in which the organization could use its most expendable trade chips to acquire a starter-level player who could be retained for multiple seasons.

Perhaps if the Knicks go that route they’ll target players who are a year or two away from restricted free agency and could be more comfortably re-signed than a player like Marcus Morris, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Players like Kyle Kuzma and Malik Beasley might fit that bill, though finding a Knicks package that would work financially and would appeal to a contender like the Lakers or Nuggets could be tricky.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Bobby Portis is drawing trade interest from multiple teams, Begley writes in a separate story for SNY.tv. Begley suggests that Portis’ pseudo-expiring contract could appeal to teams seeking a frontcourt piece, though I suspect the big man’s modest production (9.9 PPG on 44.0% shooting) and $15MM cap hit will limit his value.
  • Former Knicks head coach David Fizdale said during a Wednesday appearance on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo that he has “no ill feelings” toward the franchise following his dismissal, as Malika Andrews of ESPN.com relays. “That’s the business we’ve chosen,” Fizdale said. “I respect those guys greatly. I miss the hell out of them. … I obviously learned a ton from it and I was just really grateful to have that opportunity to say I was the head coach of the Knicks.”
  • During his radio appearance, Fizdale stated that the “media market” and “scrutiny” in New York put a lot of pressure on people within the Knicks’ organization and make it a “tough environment.” However, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News takes exception to Fizdale using outside pressure as an excuse for the Knicks’ failures, arguing that media and fans largely gave the club a pass for tanking away the 2018/19 season and weren’t responsible for the team’s questionable roster moves.
  • Anthony Davis had New York on his list of preferred destinations when he asked for a trade out of New Orleans, but he wasn’t interested in talking about the Knicks when the team visited the Lakers this week, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I’m kind of just over the whole situation,” Davis said. Asked what appealed to him about the Knicks, he replied, “That was all in the past. I don’t talk about no other team than the Lakers.”

Knicks Notes: Morris, Portis, Knox

The Knicks would rather ship out forward Bobby Portis than Marcus Morris and his expiring contract, according to Stefan Bondy of  the New York Daily News. Morris has a one-year, $15MM contract while Portis was signed for two years and $30.75MM, but the Knicks hold an option on the second year. Morris had a 38-point outburst against the Clippers on Sunday and proclaims he’s interested in re-signing. Portis is averaging 10.1 PPG and 5.7 RPG.

“I love our team. I love our future. I just want to be a part of helping these young guys grow into the great players they’re going to be,” Morris said. “That was the reason why I made the decision to come here, going back on the decisions I made, along with a lot of other things. I’m here and I enjoy this organization, I enjoy the players they got here and I want to be here long-term.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks could sell high on Morris with the way he’s playing, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. There’s motivation to trade him for a first-round pick with Morris playing as well as he ever has. “Every team I’ve been on, I’ve played my role,” Morris said. “I’m happy to be able to showcase my talent and take it to another level.” The Clippers are said to be interested and the Sixers are monitoring his situation, Berman adds.
  • New York should be able to get a late first-round pick in return for the veteran forward, Colin Martin and Ian Begley of SNY TV relay, but some members of the Knicks organization believe Morris has long-term value with the club. They have been impressed by his play and leadership and see him as a part of their rebuild, the SNY duo adds.
  • It would be painful to deal Morris but the Knicks need to continue stockpiling assets, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines.
  • Kevin Knox‘s playing time has been reduced in his second season and his confidence has taken a hit, Berman writes in a separate story. The Knicks didn’t draft Knox, a lottery pick, to be a role player but this season he’s become more of an afterthought, Berman adds. Knox is averaging 7.5 PPG in 19.4 MPG after averaging 12.8 PPG in 28.8 MPG last season.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Atlantic Division:

Bobby Portis, Knicks, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $30.75MM deal in 2019
Portis’ career appeared to be on the upswing when he posted solid numbers across the board for Chicago and Washington last season. Like many of the free agents the Knicks signed, Portis has been a colossal disappointment. His shooting percentage has dipped and he hasn’t been a force around the boards. Other than a 28-point outing against Chicago in late October, Portis has done little to justify his salary. Unless he experiences a major turnaround under new coach Mike Miller, the Knicks will decline their $15.75MM option on him after the season.

Brad Wanamaker, Celtics, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.4MM deal in 2019
Wanamaker’s role has grown in his second season with the Celtics. He’s carved out steady work, averaging 17.9 MPG while appearing in all 24 games. He doesn’t take a lot of shots but he’s above average in those categories (47.1% overall, 40% on threes, 87.5% at the free throw line). He had a 12-point, six-rebound outing against Indiana on Wednesday. Boston can make Wanamaker a restricted free agent by extending a $1.9MM qualifying offer after the season. Thus far, he has given them incentive to retain those rights.

Garrett Temple, Nets, 33, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2019
The Nets made plenty of headlines during the free agent period this past summer by signing Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. Who would have guessed that during the first two months of the season, the free agent making the biggest impact would be Temple? He’s averaging 13.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 3.6 APG while shooting 39.7% from long range in 34.2 MPG over the past 10 games. The Nets hold a $5MM option on Temple’s contract for next season. As a valuable member of the rotation, Temple is making that decision an easy one.

Jonah Bolden, Sixers, 23, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $7MM deal in 2018
Bolden appeared in 44 games in his rookie year, including 10 starts, but doesn’t have a role on this year’s team. Bolden, who has been bothered by an Achilles injury, has appeared in just two NBA games this season. He’s played eight games with the team’s G League squad, the Delaware Blue Coats, and that’s where he’ll likely spend most of his time this season unless Al Horford or Joel Embiid miss a stretch of games. Bolden’s $1.766MM salary for next season is not guaranteed and even at that modest cost, the Sixers might not keep the 2017 second-round pick around.

Stanley Johnson, Raptors, 23, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $7.4MM deal in 2019
The highlight of Johnson’s disappointing NBA career came in his rookie season, when then-President Barack Obama praised his defensive effort against LeBron James in a playoff series. The eighth pick of the 2015 draft has gone from rotation player in Detroit to an afterthought with the Raptors. Currently sidelined with a groin injury, Johnson has only made five brief appearances this season. Fortunately for Johnson, he holds a player option on his $3.8MM salary for next season. At this point, it would be foolhardy for Johnson to opt out in the summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bobby Portis Talks Knicks Signing, Crowded Frontcourt

Bobby Portis signed with the Knicks early in free agency.  While his decision came quickly, the process was rather chaotic, as he tells David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders.

“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.”

Central Notes: Holiday, Billups, Pistons, LaVine

New Pacers guard Justin Holiday was drawn to Indiana as a free agent due to the team’s winning culture and mentality, according to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star.

Holiday, whose brother Aaron Holiday currently plays for the Pacers, agreed to a one-year, $4.8MM deal with Indiana after evaluating interest on the open market. He has mostly played for non-playoff teams in recent seasons, making stops with Philadelphia, Golden State, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Memphis across his six-year career.

“It had nothing to do with finances at all,” Holiday said, as relayed by Woods. “I literally came here because of the culture of the team, coaching staff, the people in the front office. And my brother – that helps as well.

“This team wins every year. That’s something I want to do, is to be able to win. And also help the team get to the next level because I believe can do that.”

Holiday is expected to provide depth in the backcourt for the Pacers, a franchise that finished with a solid record (48-34) last year despite losing All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to injury. Indiana will be seeking its fifth straight playoff appearance and ninth in the last 10 years this upcoming season.

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Former Pistons star Chauncey Billups hopes to see the team reach the playoffs again next spring, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. “Continuity can be a good thing, just add some pieces here and there,” Billups said. “I need to see how it all works together, but we’ll see because teams got a lot better. I can’t tell you the Pistons are one of those teams that got a lot better — maybe a little better. Obviously, I’m hoping that the Pistons will jump out there and kick a lot of butt because I’m tired of people talking stuff to me about my Pistons.”
  • New players could allow the Pistons to mix up rotations and try different lineups this season, Rod Beard writes for The Detroit News. The Pistons signed Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Tim Frazier to contracts in free agency, also acquiring forward Tony Snell from Milwaukee, claiming Christian Wood off waivers and selecting Sekou Doumbouya at No. 15 in June’s NBA Draft.
  • Former Bulls forward Bobby Portis tweeted his support on Saturday to get Zach LaVine on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup. Portis and LaVine were teammates in Chicago for part of last season and during the 2017/18 season.

Atlantic Notes: Portis, Nets, Poirier, Knicks

For Bobby Portis, joining the Knicks in free agency didn’t require a promise from the team to name him a starter. Portis agreed to a two-year, $31MM deal with the team earlier in the month, fully prepared to contribute regardless of his role in the rotation.

“I don’t care about starting or coming off the bench,” Portis told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I envision myself being a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Last year I was in the running at the beginning of the season, playing well. That’s in the back of my mind for sure. Naysayers will say I’m crazy. I feel it’s going to come for me one day for sure. I play my role really well.”

With Portis eyeing the Sixth Man of the Year award, it’s worth noting he’s coming off a season that saw him average a career-high 14.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 26 minutes in 50 games with the Wizards, starting in 28 contests. He’s mostly played off the bench during his career, displaying an impressive touch around the rim and willingness to play physical.

In addition to Portis, the Knicks also reached free-agent agreements with Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Elfrid Payton, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington, giving head coach David Fizdale plenty of new options for the upcoming season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype spoke with a number of current and former Nets players about the new look of the team, including fourth-year Brooklyn guard Spencer Dinwiddie. “It shows that our program as a whole took a huge step forward – one that I don’t think many people thought was possible,” Dinwiddie said of the Nets landing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. “Even when you and I talked about it previously on the podcast, people were mocking me! I was very upfront and said, ‘Hey, I’d welcome stars with open arms,’ but everybody laughed at it. The reaction was, ‘Alright, that sounds good, but it ain’t going to happen.’ I guess it just makes this experience that much sweeter (laughs).”
  • Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t believe the Knicks will win more than 30 games next season, Marc Berman writes in a separate article for the New York Post. New York is coming off a league-worst 17-65 record from last season.
  • New Celtics center Vincent Poirier impressed the team for a variety of reasons, as detailed by Jacob Carmenker of NBC Sports Boston. The Celtics were intrigued with Poirier’s athleticism, ability to rebound and willingness to sacrifice, reaching a two-year deal with him earlier this month.

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Lowry, Raptors, Portis, Knicks

Sixers power forward Al Horford shot down an ESPN report that his new team was guilty of tampering prior to free agency. He addressed the issue on the Dan Patrick Show (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg). Horford declined his team option with the Celtics and signed a four-year, $109MM contract with Philadelphia. “It’s ridiculous. … (Celtics GM) Danny [Ainge] was really good to me. I know he’s definitely frustrated that things didn’t work out with us,” Horford said.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Heading into unrestricted free agency next summer, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has hired Priority Sports — headed by longtime agent Mark Bartelstein — to represent him, according to a Priority Sports tweet. Lowry signed a three-year deal worth up to $100MM in 2017. His previous reps were Gerard Darnes Soms, Andrew Miller and Juan Aisa, according to Spotrac.
  • The Raptors used their $3.623MM bi-annual exception to sign forward Stanley Johnson, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The $9.26MM mid-level was split up among Patrick McCaw, Matt Thomas, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who received $2.5MM rather than the veteran’s minimum. McCaw signed a two-year, $8MM deal while Thomas and Hernandez received partially-guaranteed three-year contracts.
  • Power forward Bobby Portis believes the players the Knicks brought in are a hungry group ready to overachieve, as he told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. Portis joined the team on a two-year, $31MM deal, though only the first year is guaranteed. “I love being underrated, man. I’m an underdog,” he said. “I say that every day. We’re the team that’s being counted out right now. People are looking past us. They’re talking about stars going to new teams and this and that, and that’s okay. Everybody on this team has a huge chip on their shoulder.”
  • After striking out on the big free agents this summer, the Knicks will have to exercise patience and come up with a better plan to lure top talent, Steve Popper of Newsday opines.

Contract Details: Portis, Theis, G. Hill, Harrison

As we previously relayed, most of the new Knicks that signed multiyear contracts with the team this month received modest partial guarantees in the final year of their respective deals. Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, and Reggie Bullock each have $1MM partial guarantees for 2020/21, while Julius Randle has a $4MM partial guarantee in 2021/22.

The only newly-signed member of the Knicks whose deal includes a team option – rather than a non-guaranteed final year – is Bobby Portis, per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Portis will earn a guaranteed $15MM salary in 2019/20 with a $15.75MM team option for 2020/21.

Meanwhile, Marcus Morris is the only Knicks free agent addition who didn’t get a multiyear contract at all, as Pincus notes. Morris will earn a flat $15MM salary on his one-year deal.

Here are a few more contract details from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Daniel Theis‘ new two-year, $10MM deal with the Celtics is only guaranteed for the first year, according to Pincus. Theis’ $5MM non-guaranteed salary for 2020/21 would become guaranteed if he remains under contract through July 3, 2020.
  • Pincus also provides the specific details on the partial guarantee in year three of George Hill‘s new contract with the Bucks. After earning a total of $18.72MM in his first two seasons, the veteran guard has a $1.28MM partial guarantee in 2021/22 that increases his overall guarantee to exactly $20MM. If he remains under contract through July 1, 2021, Hill’s third year would be worth $10.05MM.
  • Having re-signed with the Bulls on a new one-year, minimum-salary contract, Shaquille Harrison received a partial guarantee worth $175K, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Harrison will also get a de facto no-trade clause as a result of signing a one-year deal with his previous team.