Bobby Portis

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.

Knicks Officially Sign Randle, Portis, Gibson, Ellington, Payton

The Knicks officially finalized five of their free agent signings on Monday night, according to NBA.com’s transactions log, which lists the deals for Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton as having been completed.

Those deals are structured as follows:

  • Randle: Three years, $63MM. First two years guaranteed. (Story)
  • Portis: Two years, $31MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Gibson: Two years, $20MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Ellington: Two years, $16MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Payton: Two years, $16MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)

While those five signings will use up most of the club’s cap room, there’s still one notable signing to be finalized, as Reggie Bullock‘s two-year, $21MM deal is not yet official.

Knicks Notes: Portis, Randle, Smith Jr., Westbrook

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.

Knicks’ Deals With Portis, Gibson, Bullock, Ellington Include Second-Year Team Options

With the exception of Julius Randle, who agreed to a three-year contract, all of the veteran free agents who have agreed to sign with the Knicks so far are reportedly set to receive two-year deals. The structure of those contracts appeared to put New York on track to regain cap flexibility in 2021.

However, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the two-year deals for Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, and Wayne Ellington will all include second-year team options.

By not guaranteeing the second year on those contracts, the Knicks will be able to maintain cap flexibility for the 2020 offseason, bringing back any veterans who impress them and parting ways with those who don’t.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Free Agent Tracker: Knicks’ Deals]

Although Randle’s contract runs an extra year, his deal will also reportedly feature a team option – or possible a modest partial guarantee – in its final season, according to reports.

Knicks, Bobby Portis Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Knicks will add Bobby Portis on a two-year deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Portis will make $31MM over the length of the deal.

Washington is rescinding its qualifying offer for Portis, according to The Athletic’s Fred Katz (Twitter link). The move will allow him to sign with New York without the threat of Washington matching an offer sheet.

Portis re-signing with the Wizards was unlikely given his salary expectations. There was always a sense that Washington would have to choose him or Thomas Bryant when prioritizing a big man to re-sign. Bryant agreed to a three-year deal with the Wizards earlier in the day.

Portis and Jabari Parker came to the Wizards in the Otto Porter Jr. trade. Parker is also considered unlikely to return to the team.

New York has now agreed to deals with three power forwards. In addition to Portis, the team agreed to sign Julius Randle to a three-year, $63MM deal and Taj Gibson to a two-year, $20MM pact

The Knicks are projected to have approximately $27.5MM in cap room after today’s agreements, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Free Agent Notes: Harris, Leonard, Portis

Tobias Harris is meeting with the Sixers to begin free agency, The Athletic’s David Aldridge tweets. Harris is seeking a full, five-year max deal.

Jimmy Butler is in Miami to begin his free agency tour and is expected to tell the Heat that he wants to sign with them. The Sixers will likely get a chance to speak with Butler before he signs elsewhere, as Miami doesn’t have the cap space necessary to offer Butler a max contract.

Here’s more from the start of free agency:

  • Magic Johnson said he has spoken to Kawhi Leonard and Dennis Robertson (Leonard’s uncle) after Leonard’s camp contacted him, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times relays (Twitter link). No meeting between the parties has been set up yet.
  • Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker are both operating as if they will not be back with the Wizards, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports reports on Twitter. Both players were brought to Washington in the mid-season deal that sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago.
  • Julius Randle is on the Knicks‘ radar, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). New York missed out on Kevin Durant, watching him sign with the Nets.
  • The Knicks are meeting with Reggie Bullock tonight, Aldridge tweets. Bullock is ready to commit to a “strong offer,” Aldridge adds. The Lakers would like to keep him, though New York will be among the teams which will have a chance to steal him away from Los Angeles.