Bobby Portis

Wizards To Decline $20MM Option On Jabari Parker

The Wizards won’t exercise their $20MM team option on Jabari Parker, but they may try to re-sign him, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The move has been expected, dating back to when Washington traded for Parker in February, Haynes adds. But he cites “mutual interest” between Parker and the team in working out a longer arrangement once he becomes an unrestricted free agent next weekend. The Wizards view him as a player with potential whose development has been slowed by ACL tears in 2014 and 2017.

Parker’s asking price will start at $15MM per year, sources tell Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, and that number could rise or fall depending on the market. He adds that the Wizards will probably need Parker to relax that demand, especially after drafting Rui Hachimura, who has similar talents. Re-signing Thomas Bryant, Tomas Satoransky and possibly Bobby Portis will be higher priorites, according to Hughes.

Parker, 24, had a difficult time in Chicago after signing a two-year, $40MM deal last summer, especially once Jim Boylen replaced Fred Hoiberg as head coach. However, Parker was much better after the trade, averaging 15 points and 7.2 rebounds in 25 games with Washington.

Multiple Teams Interested In Bobby Portis

The man that bet on himself this season is in position to cash in. The Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks are among the teams expected to have interest in Bobby Portis, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports reports.

Portis turned down an extension with the Bulls earlier this season and was rumored to be seeking a deal worth $16MM annually. While it’s not clear what kind of deal Portis receive in restricted free agency, it will certainly be a raise on his 2018/19 salary of approximately $2.5MM.

The Wizards are likely to extend a qualifying offer to Portis, which will be worth about $3.6MM.

The Bulls—the franchise that drafted Portis with the No.22 overall pick in the 2015 draft—traded him to the Wizards along with Jabari Parker for Otto Porter Jr. prior to the trade deadline. Washington is expected to decline Parker’s $20MM team option for next season, though even if both players signed elsewhere, the Wizards will have trouble carving out cap room.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Washington Wizards]

The franchise is looking at approximately $89MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season. The team will have a version of the mid-level at its disposal (the taxpayer’s MLE if over the projected $132MM) and the bi-annual exception will be available if it can stay below that tax line.

Wizards Notes: Parker, Portis, McRae

Since acquiring Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker in exchange for Otto Porter in a deadline deal with the Bulls, the Wizards have a 6-7 record, the exact same record they had in their 13 games before the trade. However, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details, the club has looked quite different with Portis and Parker in its rotation.

The Wizards had struggled all season as a team with their rebounding, but they’ve seen those numbers improve over the last month, Hughes observes. Portis is averaging 9.4 RPG as a Wizard, while Parker is putting up 6.8 RPG — both figures would be career highs.

Meanwhile, Washington’s offense has been “supercharged” since the trade, according to Hughes, who writes that the team has ranked first in effective field goal percentage and assists per game while playing at the league’s third-fastest pace over the last 13 contests. Conversely, the Wizards’ defense has taken a hit — they’re forcing fewer turnovers and have allowed the most points in the paint in the NBA since the deal, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as neither Portis nor Parker is an elite defender.

Here’s more from out of D.C.:

  • While there’s no chance the Wizards will pick up Parker’s $20MM team option for 2019/20, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of the former No. 2 overall pick returning to the club next season, writes Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Two-way player Jordan McRae, who is battling a sore Achilles, will be re-evaluated during the next few days, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said on Tuesday. As Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets, McRae might not spend any more time in the G League this season, since he still has some NBA days left on his two-way deal, and after the NBAGL regular season ends on March 23, all two-way players are permitted to rejoin their NBA clubs through the end of the NBA regular season.
  • A “top”-six team in our 2018/19 Reverse Standings for much of the season, Washington now ranks eighth in the lottery order after winning four of its last seven games. With a half-game separating them from the No. 6 Mavericks and No. 7 Grizzlies, it’ll be interesting to see where the Wizards finish. The No. 6 team in the lottery has a 37.2% chance at a top-four pick, whereas the odds for the No. 8 team slip to 26.2%.

Southeast Notes: Portis, Walker, Briscoe, Vucevic

The Wizards and Bobby Portis will decide this summer if they want their relationship to be long-term, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Acquired from the Bulls at the trade deadline, the 24-year-old power forward will be a restricted free agent in July. Portis is posting career highs with 15.3 PPG and 8.9 RPG in his nine games with Washington and is enjoying his new surroundings.

“Everything is pretty good, man. I like being a Wizard. I love being here,” he said. “I think this is a good fit for me through and through.”

However, Portis’ return next season isn’t a sure thing. Thomas Bryant will also be a restricted free agent, and Hughes doesn’t expect the front office to invest heavily in both. Washington will also have decisions to make on free agents Trevor Ariza, Wesley Johnson and Jeff Green, who will all be unrestricted.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Even if the Hornets can re-sign star guard Kemba Walker, there’s no guarantee they can ever surround him with enough talent to become a contender, observes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. GM Mitch Kupchak made inquiries about Bradley Beal, Marc Gasol and Harrison Barnes prior to the trade deadline, but wasn’t able to acquire any of them. Bonnell notes that if Charlotte commits about $200MM to Walker over the next five years, it will become tougher than ever for the team to add a second star.
  • Isaiah Briscoe‘s journey to the NBA took a detour through Estonia, but that experience has given him a toughness that benefits the Magic, writes John Denton of NBA.com. Briscoe was passed over in the 2017 draft and had to spend a year in Europe before receiving an NBA opportunity. “Isaiah is a tough-minded kid, undrafted and went overseas to get to the league, so he has a chip on his shoulder, and he has that mindset,’’ said teammate D.J. Augustin. “He’s a big, physical body for a point guard and he uses it out there well.’’
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic hasn’t decided if World Cup basketball will be part of his summer plans, he said in an interview with TrendBasket (translated by Sportando). Vucevic indicated that Orlando’s postseason fate could determine whether he suits up for Montenegro. “I have not decided yet,” he said. “First we have to finish the season where we are trying to make the playoffs. We are focused on making the playoffs now. I will be free agent when the season ends. I am going to be busy for a while. I hope my situation will be clearer in July.”

Eastern Notes: Portis, Bulls, Lin, Pacers

The agent for new Wizards forward Bobby Portis, Mark Bartelstein, clarified his client’s comments about being traded in an interview with K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune this week.

Portis, who was moved to Washington with Jabari Parker in exchange for Otto Porter Jr. on trade deadline day, explained his unhappiness with how the transaction went down at the time:

“They told me how much they loved my energy, my heart, how hard I worked, how much I loved playing for the Bulls,” Portis said, as detailed in a previous Hoops Rumors story. “Them telling me that I’m going to be there [through the deadline] and telling me that they want to work things out this summer [in restricted free agency]. We weren’t able to agree to a contract extension [before the October deadline], but they said they wanted to agree to something this summer before free agency hits.

“I think back on everything they told me. All this stuff was said and then I don’t even get notified when I’m getting traded? (pause) It’s just a crazy feeling. I guess I’m getting my first taste of the business. Business is business, I guess. I just don’t think it was done the right way.”

Bartelstein then clarified that his client and the Bulls are on the same page, as was evident by how Portis visited Chicago’s locker room after their game against the Wizards last Saturday.

“[General manager] Gar [Forman] made it very clear to me they had no interest in trading Bobby and wanted him there long term,” Bartelstein said. “However, like with anyone else, they had to listen to offers coming in. A day before the deadline, he didn’t think anything was going to happen. There’s no doubt in my mind that Gar and [executive vice president] John Paxson were sincere about their desire to re-sign him.

“I told Bobby: ‘They love you. They want to get a deal done this summer and have no interest in trading you. But if the right offer comes about, absolutely you can get traded.’ The analogy I said to Bobby — these weren’t Gar’s words, they were mine — was, ‘If the Warriors offer Kevin Durant and the Lakers offer LeBron James, you’re getting traded.’ Basically, if somebody offers something the Bulls can’t refuse.”

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • The Bulls are expected to focus on adding a point guard around the draft or free agency this summer, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Chicago’s list, according to Cowley, is headlined by Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison — two players who could push starting guard Kris Dunn going into training camp.
  • When Jeremy Lin was asked why he joined the Raptors as a free agent, Lin explained that the team “really, really” wanted him, as relayed by Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). “That means something,” Lin said of Toronto’s interest. Lin holds several years of NBA experience and has made the postseason four times, but he’s never advanced past the first round.
  • The Pacers and city officials are negotiating a deal that would keep the team in Indiana for roughly 25 more years, Chris Sikich of the Indianapolis Star writes. The Pacers’ current deal is worth $160 million and expires in 2024, according to Sikich. The team has floated the idea of publicly funding upgrades to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for about two years.

Bobby Portis Discusses Trade From Bulls To Wizards

Bobby Portis was traded from the Bulls to the Wizards last week and said over the weekend during a return to Chicago that he didn’t have “anything bad” to say about anyone with the Bulls. Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype this week about the deal, Portis echoed that sentiment, but also aired a few grievances about how his time in Chicago ended.

According to Portis, the Bulls – and GM Gar Forman – told his agent when trade rumors involving Portis first surfaced that the fourth-year forward would only be moved in a deal that netted the team a “superstar”-type player. A day before the deadline, Portis was fully prepared to remain a Bull through Thursday, so he was shocked when he found out less than a half-hour before Wednesday’s game that the team had reached an agreement in principle to move him.

Here’s more of what Portis had to say to Kennedy about his unexpected move from Chicago to Washington:

On whether he was upset with how things played out with the Bulls:

“They told me how much they loved my energy, my heart, how hard I worked, how much I loved playing for the Bulls. Them telling me that I’m going to be there [through the deadline] and telling me that they want to work things out this summer [in restricted free agency]. We weren’t able to agree to a contract extension [before the October deadline], but they said they wanted to agree to something this summer before free agency hits.

“I think back on everything they told me. All this stuff was said and then I don’t even get notified when I’m getting traded? (pause) It’s just a crazy feeling. I guess I’m getting my first taste of the business. Business is business, I guess. I just don’t think it was done the right way.”

On whether the trade will provide motivation going forward:

“Getting traded gave me a bit of extra motivation, but what did really [motivate me] was seeing some of the comments made by the [Bulls] GM and the press. They were talking about not wanting to pay me and that kind of stuff. All that stuff really motivates me. It makes me want to be a better player. It makes me wants to go out there and prove everybody wrong. I’m always going to play with a chip on my shoulder. I play with a log on my shoulder.”

On his first impressions of the Wizards:

“They welcomed me with open arms. My teammates and coaches have all told me to be who I am, be vocal, be aggressive on the offensive end… Basically, be Bobby Portis. I think those few words really helped me as I get acclimated to my team quickly.”

Otto Porter Claims Wizards Promised Not To Trade Him

Otto Porter said Wizards management held a private meeting with him before the trade deadline and assured him that he would remain with the team, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Washington’s front office changed its mind sometime before Wednesday night when Porter was shipped to Chicago in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker.

Porter was expected to be part of the Wizards’ future when he agreed to a rookie-scale extension in 2017. However, his production never matched his lofty new salary and he had settled into a sixth-man role since returning from an injury last month. He was owed $27.25MM next year and has a player option worth nearly $28.5MM for 2020/21, which created a luxury tax bind for a Wizards team that may not make the playoffs.

Katz notes that owner Ted Leonsis did a radio interview about a week ago in which he promised that Moore, John Wall and Bradley Beal would all stay with the organization past the deadline.

There’s more Wizards and Bulls news as the teams met tonight, just three days after the trade:

  • Parker contends his relationship with Jim Boylen did “a complete 180” after Boylen replaced Fred Hoiberg as Chicago’s head coach in December, relays Madeline Kenney of The Chicago Sun-Times“[Before that,] we never had controversy,” Parker said. “I always had his back, you know, with things that we had in-house problems with.” Displeased with Parker’s effort and commitment to defense, Boylen took him out of the rotation and Parker appeared in just one of 13 games in the first month that Boylen ran the team. “I’m happy,” Parker said of the deal that sent him to Washington. “I haven’t smiled in a while, but it’s great.”
  • Portis said he learned of Wednesday’s trade about 20 minutes prior to a game against the Pelicans and his “stomach dropped,” according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Portis seemed shocked about being dealt away from the team that drafted him in 2015. “Everybody knows how much I prided myself in playing for the Bulls and how much I really loved playing for the city of Chicago,” he said. “It’s a business and I finally got my first taste of it.”
  • Porter enjoyed the chance to provide inside information about his former team heading into tonight’s game, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Yeah, I was telling coach everything there was to know about Washington,” he said. “Everything. … I was snitching, yeah.”

Bulls Notes: Lopez, Porter, Boylen, Portis

Although a report from ESPN on Thursday indicated that the Bulls and Robin Lopez are expected to engage in buyout talks now that the trade deadline has passed, executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson sounds like he expects Lopez to stick with the franchise for the rest of the season, as K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune relays.

“My feeling right now — it can change — is Robin will be with us,” Paxson said. “Our players love him. He’s a great teammate. We don’t feel it’s an absolute given that we have to just buy a guy out to help another team.”

Paxson acknowledged that the Bulls would “have a discussion” if Lopez’s representatives requested a buyout, but stressed that the club loves having the veteran center around. Previous reports have suggested that Lopez would likely sign with the Warriors if he’s released, so perhaps the Bulls’ front office also isn’t exactly eager to help out the two-time defending champions.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • In explaining the trade for Otto Porter, Paxson said that the Bulls recognized they aren’t ready to pursue top free agents, which is why they didn’t mind committing future cap room to someone like Porter. “We’re not in the position to go after the big names, the franchise changers. We’re looking at things realistically,” Paxson said, per K.C. Johnson. “We also looked ahead to this summer, and even the summer beyond, at available wings and versatile players. There are no guarantees of getting players like that.”
  • The Bulls remain committed to having Jim Boylen continue as head coach of the team next season, Paxson said on Thursday (link via K.C. Johnson). “We’re working well together,” Paxson said. “Our objectives are the same. Jim’s doing the right things. From our seats, he’s promoting the right message to our players and what we expect.”
  • Speaking of Boylen, during a subsequent appearance on 670 The Score, Paxson pushed back on the narrative about the supposed near-mutiny that took place shortly after Boylen took over as the Bulls’ head coach, writes Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. Despite reports, Paxson said that Bulls players never contacted the NBPA about Boylen’s tactics.
  • While Paxson said on Thursday that the Bulls continue to evaluate Kris Dunn, it’s becoming clear that the team will need to further address the point guard spot at some point, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. ESPN’s Zach Lowe previously reported that Dunn “was there to be had at the deadline.”
  • According to K.C. Johnson (Twitter link), before the Bulls traded Bobby Portis this week, they offered him a multiyear extension worth $40-50MM last fall. For four years, that’d be an annual average value around $10-12MM, but word around the league is that Portis will seek $16MM annually this summer, per Johnson.

Post-Deadline Notes: Rockets, Spurs, Favors, Portis

The Rockets’ latest moves prior to the trade deadline were mainly designed to open up a roster spot and find another piece on the buyout market, GM Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen (Twitter link). The Rockets also wanted to “create flexibility now and down the road,” Morey said.

The Rockets were involved in a three-way deal with the Kings and Cavaliers in which they shipped out Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss and acquired Iman Shumpert, Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin. They soon traded Stauskas and Baldwin to the Pacers and dealt James Ennis to the Sixers without receiving any players in return.

We have more on potential moves from around the league:

  • The Spurs will be searching for a wing player via the buyout market, Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. They have mainly relied on journeymen Marco BelinelliQuincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham as backups to leading scorer DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes.
  • Power forward Derrick Favors is glad he wasn’t traded by the Jazz, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Favors was reportedly part of the package Utah offered to Memphis in its failed attempt to acquire point guard Mike Conley. He is likely to be a free agent this summer since his $16.9MM salary for next season is not guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through July 6th. “I’m happy I’m still here,” he said. “I’m glad this is over, and now I can focus on basketball.”
  • Bulls players were sad to see power forward Bobby Portis go to the Wizards, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Portis was part of the package Chicago shipped to Washington for forward Otto Porter Jr. Though Portis had a much-publicized altercation with former teammate Nikola Mirotic early last season, he was regarded as an emotional leader by the players on the current roster. “Bobby’s pretty much the main glue of the team, a big-time voice,” shooting guard Zach LaVine said. “It (stinks). He’s one of my best friends on the team.”

Wizards Trade Otto Porter To Bulls

11:13pm: The trade is official, the Bulls announced on Twitter.

6:43pm: The Wizards will send Otto Porter to the Bulls in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Washington will also receive a protected future second-round pick, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link). Jake Fischer of SI.com adds (via Twitter) that the pick will be a top-36 protected second-rounder in 2023.

The deal shapes up as a cost-cutting move for Washington, which was well into luxury tax territory for this season and was in danger of heading there again next year. Porter, who makes $27.25MM next year and has a player option worth nearly $28.5MM for 2020/21, was the most logical trade piece to provide cap relief. Injuries have made John Wall virtually unmovable as his super-max deal kicks in next season, and the Wizards don’t want to part with All-Star guard Bradley Beal.

Washington gets back a pair of players with no guaranteed salary beyond this season. Portis will be eligible for restricted free agency after turning down an extension offer from the Bulls in October. The fourth-year forward is having his best NBA season, averaging career highs of 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Parker signed a two-year, $40MM deal with Chicago last summer, but it carries a team option on the $20MM second year. He will get two months to try to impress the Wizards, but the team will almost certainly likely opt for the savings.

The trade drops Washington’s projected tax bill for this season from $8.96MM to $3.34MM and puts it $2.3MM above the tax threshold, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. Marks adds that Parker’s option must be exercised by June 29, and the team must submit a $3.6MM qualifying offer to Portis by the end of June to retain the right to match any offers.

Porter, 25, will get a chance to shine in Chicago as part of the team’s young core. He’s averaging 12.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG in his sixth NBA season and recently moved into a sixth-man role in Washington.

The Wizards had pledged last week not to trade Porter or Beal, but Wall’s heel surgery, followed by a ruptured left Achilles tendon that will sideline him for at least 12 more months, apparently changed their minds, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The move should create enough financial freedom for Washington to sign Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant to long-term deals this summer, adds David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.