Bobby Portis

Central Notes: Ball, Portis, Walton, Pacers

Echoing Billy Donovan‘s update on Sunday, Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said that Lonzo Ball is “progressing” from his left knee injury. However, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Karnisovas’ comments on Ball were somewhat sobering.

“He’s getting better. Probably not at the speed that we would like. But he’s getting better,” Karnisovas said of Ball. “Hopefully, he’s going to be ready for training camp. That’s just our hopes.”

Ball, who underwent surgery on a torn left meniscus in January, was bothered by a bone bruise when he attempted to ramp up his rehab process last season. According to Johnson, Ball has experienced “similar starts and stops” this offseason and still sometimes experiences discomfort when he increases his workload.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After years of betting on himself with shorter-term contracts and team-friendly salaries, Bucks big man Bobby Portis was thrilled to be rewarded in free agency this summer with a four-year, $48MM+ deal, as he tells Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Finally being able to have financial security for not only myself, but my family, is great,” Portis said. “To be able to go into free agency and have a number of teams call and believe that I’m special and want me to join their team, that was cool too.” Portis added that he decided to re-sign with the Bucks in part because his two years in Milwaukee have made him not only a better player but a “better man off the court.”
  • New Cavaliers assistant Luke Walton spoke to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic about his decision to join J.B. Bickerstaff‘s staff in Cleveland, noting that he appreciates the level of continuity he sees in the franchise. “There’s a lot of people that are still working here that were here when I played here 10 years ago – which is rare in the NBA,” Walton said. “To me, it’s something that’s very important when you’re trying to build a winning team and a winning culture.”
  • We’re still waiting to see how Deandre Ayton‘s free agency will play out, but the Pacers make a lot of sense as a potential destination for the former top pick, according to Dan Devine of The Ringer. Adding Ayton would give Tyrese Haliburton an ideal pick-and-roll partner and would put Indiana on track to quickly pivot back to respectability, Devine writes.

Eastern Notes: Banchero, Portis, Wizards, Knicks

With the Las Vegas Summer League underway, top pick Paolo Banchero isn’t shying away from the spotlight, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. The Magic forward is eager to show the fans why Orlando considered him the draft’s top prospect.

“I love when big crowds are out, when all the cameras are out, that’s when I play my best,” he said. “So, I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to be fun.”

Orlando begins Summer League play tonight.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bobby Portis has inked his four-year, $48.58MM contract with the Bucks but he’s not in a celebratory mood, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Portis says it just motivates him to keep working. “I’m glad that the Bucks chose to bring me back and we met at terms and this and that, but I’ll always feel like I’ve got something to prove,” he said. “Obviously I’m happy that I got a chance to build generational wealth for my family, but still a lot of work left to do and there’s not time or need to celebrate. I work hard, I work on my game.”
  • The Wizards still have some holes to fill at point guard and center, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. However, guards Kris Dunn and Pierria Henry and big man Jaime Echenique, who are Summer League team members, could force their way into the mix. There’s a good chance the roster they currently have is essentially the one they will go with when the season opens, Hughes adds.
  • There are a number of under-the-radar players on the Knicks’ Summer League roster who could catch someone’s attention, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. Braziller provides details on seven of those players, including guard Jean Montero and forward Feron Hunt.

Contract Details: Monk, Bucks, Edwards, Dort, Jones

Malik Monk‘s two-year deal with the Kings is worth approximately $19.42MM in total, with a first-year salary of $9.47MM, Hoops Rumors has learned. While Sacramento used most of the mid-level exception to bring Monk aboard, the team still has $1,017,781 left on the MLE, which is the exact value of the rookie minimum salary.

The Kings didn’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft, so that leftover mid-level money won’t go to a 2022 draftee. But the club may have it earmarked for a player like Sasha Vezenkov, a 2017 second-rounder whose draft rights were acquired from Cleveland last month. Using that leftover mid-level money, Sacramento could offer Vezenkov – or another player – a minimum-salary deal that exceeds two years.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Joe Ingles got the full taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.48MM) from the Bucks, while Bobby Portis‘s four-year deal is worth the most he could receive using his Early Bird rights ($48.58MM), Hoops Rumors has learned. Portis’ contract includes a 15% trade kicker and a fourth-year player option.
  • Wesley Matthews‘ new deal with the Bucks is a one-year, minimum-salary contract, while the team used Jevon Carter‘s Non-Bird rights to give him a first-year salary ($2.1MM) worth a little more than his minimum ($1.97MM). Carter’s second-year player option is for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Kessler Edwards‘ two-year deal with the Nets, which features a second-year team option, is – as expected – worth the minimum.
  • Luguentz Dort‘s five-year contract with the Thunder includes a team option in year five and has a total base value of $82.5MM. It can be worth up to $87.5MM if Dort earns $5MM in total unlikely bonuses ($1MM annually), tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
  • Tyus Jones‘ two-year deal with the Grizzlies begins at $15MM and declines to $14MM in 2023/24, per Marks (Twitter link). The deal includes an additional $1MM in unlikely incentives related to the team’s performance, Marks adds.

Bucks Re-Sign Bobby Portis To Four-Year Contract

JULY 6: The Bucks have officially re-signed Portis, the team announced today in a press release.


JUNE 30: The Bucks have reached an agreement to re-sign free agent big man Bobby Portis to a four-year, $49MM contract, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

That’s the maximum amount that the Bucks could have given Portis using his Early Bird rights after he turned down his $4.6MM player option earlier this week.

The 6’10” Portis had a strong second season with Milwaukee, averaging career-highs in points (14.6) and rebounds (9.1) while appearing in 72 games (28.2 minutes per contest). He also started a career-high 59 games as center Brook Lopez dealt with a back injury which required surgery.

Portis, 27, is well-known for bringing lots of energy and intensity to the court, but he’s also a skilled offensive player, posting a .479/.393/.752 shooting line. He primarily served as a shooter for the Bucks to create space and driving lanes for two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has said he loves playing with Portis.

While Portis is a limited defender, he’s a good rebounder and gives solid effort, he just makes poor decisions and has trouble staying in front of smaller players. He also isn’t much of a rim protector, but Antetokounmpo is a very good backline anchor, which covers up for Portis’ weaknesses somewhat.

Portis was a key reserve when the Bucks won the title in 2020/21 and is a fan favorite in Milwaukee. Given he’s the same age as Antetokounmpo and Lopez is 34 and will be on an expiring deal, clearly the Bucks viewed Portis as a priority to retain, and since they’re over the cap, it’s not like they could easily find someone to replace his production.

Heat Rumors: Tucker, Portis, Lowry, Crowder

Heat players are reportedly lobbying free agent forward P.J. Tucker to remain with the team, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, in particular, is “very much hoping” Tucker returns to Miami.

However, James Harden‘s decision to opt out of a $47MM+ salary for next season and likely sign a new deal starting at a lower number is the latest indication that the Sixers are a serious threat to lure Tucker to Philadelphia. Harden’s move clears a path for Philadelphia to offer its full mid-level exception to Tucker.

If Tucker does leave, the Heat will be in the market for a power forward, and T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson, Thaddeus Young, and Nicolas Batum will be among the free agents on their radar, Jackson writes. A Wednesday report indicated the club would likely also have interest in Danilo Gallinari if he’s waived after being traded by San Antonio.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jackson hears from a source that Miami would be a team that appeals to Bobby Portis if he decides to leave Milwaukee. But Portis is considered likely to stick with the Bucks, while the Heat are reluctant to hard-cap themselves for the season by giving their full mid-level exception to a free agent, so it’s an unlikely match.
  • Jackson also hears that Kyle Lowry wasn’t upset by Pat Riley‘s end-of-season comments about how his conditioning must improve. The Heat have assured Lowry they have no intention of trading him in a deal for Kyrie Irving, Jackson adds.
  • After saying that the Heat had emerged as the frontrunners to trade for Suns forward Jae Crowder, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter links) walked back that report. As Gambadoro explains, he can’t see Phoenix taking on Duncan Robinson‘s contract, and the Heat don’t have any other obvious salary-matching pieces they’d include in an offer for Crowder.

Bobby Portis To Decline Option With Bucks

Bobby Portis has told the Bucks he will decline his $4.6MM option for next season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 27-year-old forward will be an unrestricted free agent, but there’s a good chance he’ll stay in Milwaukee on a more lucrative deal, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says Portis “seems destined” to sign a new contract worth more than $40MM over four years to remain with the Bucks.

The Bucks have Early Bird rights on Portis and can pay him up to $49MM over four seasons, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Marks adds that a new Early Bird contract must cover at least two seasons with no options in the second year.

Portis played an important role in Milwaukee’s title-winning team in 2020/21 and was just as valuable this past season. He moved into the starting lineup — starting 59 of the 72 games he played — and averaged a career-best 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per night.

Portis was the No. 13 player on our list of 2022’s top 50 free agents.

Scotto’s Latest: Portis, Johnson, Graham, Nets, Batum, More

Within his latest round-up of NBA rumors, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms a number of items that have been previously reported or speculated. According to Scotto, Bucks forward Bobby Portis is widely expected to decline his $4.56MM player option to become a free agent, the Lakers are considered a strong bet to pick up Stanley Johnson‘s $2.35MM team option, and Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham is available in trade talks.

Scotto’s article includes several other intriguing tidbits related to the draft, free agency, and the trade market. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Nets have fielded trade inquiries on Joe Harris and Cam Thomas, according to Scotto, who says rival executives believe Brooklyn could potentially get a first-round pick in exchange for Thomas. While there’s a sense that Harris might be more available than in previous years due to the Nets’ February acquisition of Seth Curry, the team still believes Harris would be a useful piece on next year’s roster due to his ability to help on the boards and space the floor around Ben Simmons, Scotto writes.
  • The Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and Bucks are among the teams that have inquired about the No. 14 overall pick, currently held by the Cavaliers, league sources tell HoopsHype. Scotto previously reported that Cleveland would be open to the idea of moving down in the draft if it meant acquiring a future first-round pick.
  • Rival executives who spoke to Scotto believe veteran forward Nicolas Batum could be in line for a deal worth $10MM per year after turning down his player option. The Clippers would have the ability to go that high to re-sign Batum using his Early Bird rights.
  • Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia has visited Milwaukee and worked out for the Bucks twice during the pre-draft process, Scotto reports. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who previously identified LaRavia as a player on Milwaukee’s radar, has him ranked 28th on ESPN’s big board of 2022 prospects. The Bucks hold the 24th overall pick.

Stein’s Latest: Portis, J. Howard, Lakers, Celtics, Hornets

Bucks forward/center Bobby Portis has the ability to become an unrestricted free agent this summer by turning down his $4.56MM player option for 2022/23. However, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack article that some teams with interest in Portis are extremely pessimistic about their chances of luring the veteran out of Milwaukee.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Portis will exercise his player option. Because he has spent the last two seasons with the Bucks, they now hold his Early Bird rights and would be able to offer him a raise if he opts out. There’s an expectation that Portis will sign a multiyear deal with Milwaukee if he declines his option, according to Stein.

Assuming the Bucks use Portis’ Early Bird rights to re-sign him, they’ll have to offer him a deal covering at least two seasons, since Early Bird contracts can’t be for just one year. They can also offer up to 105% of the league-average salary from the previous season — that should result in a maximum starting salary in the vicinity of $11MM.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Based on the rumors circulating in coaching circles, it sounds as if Juwan Howard was the Lakers‘ preferred candidate in their head coaching search, according to Stein. Los Angeles made such “strong overtures” to Howard that it appeared the team preferred him to other long-shot targets like Quin Snyder and Doc Rivers and was willing to offer him the job if he wanted it, Stein adds. Howard wasn’t interested in leaving the University of Michigan, and L.A. ultimately hired Darvin Ham.
  • The Celtics also had strong interest in Howard a year ago after Brad Stevens moved from the sidelines to the front office and before the team hired Ime Udoka, says Stein. The Lakers will be hoping their new hire works out as well as Udoka has in Boston.
  • Stein continues to hear that the Hornets are likely to choose between Mike D’Antoni and Kenny Atkinson as they near the end of their head coaching search. D’Antoni and Atkinson were previously identified as finalists for the job, but it wasn’t clear if they were the only candidates still in play.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Portis, Connaughton, Matthews

The Bucks‘ defense performed relatively well in their second-round series vs. Boston, holding a Celtics team that led the NBA with a 122.6 offensive rating after the All-Star break to a 108.8 mark in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, Milwaukee’s own offense struggled — the team ranked third in the league with a 114.3 offensive rating in the regular season, but its 99.7 second-round mark ranked last by a wide margin among the eight remaining clubs.

One reason for Milwaukee’s offensive struggles was Khris Middleton‘s absence due to an MCL sprain. The Bucks were left wondering after Sunday’s Game 7 loss whether they’d be the ones advancing to face Miami in the Eastern Finals if their second-leading scorer had been available vs. Boston.

“Obviously, we weren’t trying to make excuses, ‘We don’t have Khris, and oh, it’s going to be tough for us.’ No, no, no,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said on Sunday, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I think everybody went out there and competed, gave everything they had and that’s what we did from Game 3 against Chicago until Game 7 against Boston. But, if we had him, maybe it would have been a different story. But we didn’t.”

“We could’ve used him,” Jrue Holiday said of Middleton. “We definitely could’ve used him. He makes big shots and big plays on both ends, but especially the offensive end. Yeah, we missed him, but we also want him to be OK for the future, too. Yeah, he’s missed.”

Middleton confirmed on Monday that his MCL injury was a Grade 2 sprain and said it will heal on its own in the offseason without any surgical intervention (Twitter links via Eric Nehm of The Athletic and Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Middleton added that he wanted to play in Games 6 and 7 vs. Boston and didn’t experience any setbacks, but team doctors said the risk was too high for him to return so soon (Twitter link via Owczarski).

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Asked about his upcoming player option decision, Bobby Portis spoke at length about how much he has enjoyed his two years in Milwaukee, but deferred to his agent on his contract situation. “That’s on the organization and my agent to figure that out,” Portis said (Twitter link via Nehm). “I don’t really discuss numbers or contracts or none of that. I love it here. I love being a Buck, but it definitely comes down to them making it work.” The Bucks would have Early Bird rights on Portis, who has certainly outplayed his $4.56MM option.
  • In his preview of the Bucks’ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes a closer look at Portis’ free agency, noting that the Bucks could offer him up to about $22.6MM over two years using the Early Bird exception. Marks also explores potential new contracts for Pat Connaughton, who can reach free agency by turning down his player option, and Middleton, who is extension-eligible.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype previewed the Bucks’ summer too, examining the upcoming free agent and extension decisions facing the team.
  • Veteran wing Wesley Matthews told reporters on Monday that he’ll definitely continue his NBA career and would like be back with the Bucks (Twitter link via Owczarski). The 35-year-old said that he hopes not to have to wait until December to sign his next contract, as he did this past season.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, R. Williams, Isaac, Portis

The Knicks held a free agent mini-camp this week, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link), who says a number of players with NBA experience were in attendance.

Guards Devon Dotson and Chris Clemons, swingman DaQuan Jeffries, forwards Louis King and George King, and big men Alize Johnson and Reggie Perry were among the players who participated in the Knicks’ mini-camp, per Zagoria. John Petty, Craig Randall, Carlik Jones, Aaron Henry, and A.J. Lawson also took part.

The Knicks won’t necessarily sign any of the free agents who attended the mini-camp, but it gave them a chance to see some of the talent that’s out there as they mull possible Summer League and training camp invites.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics big man Robert Williams, who is still listed as questionable for Game 6 on Friday, was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee after colliding with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3, head coach Ime Udoka said today. Williams’ injured knee is the same one he had surgery on in March, but that procedure isn’t the cause of his current absence. “There’s no problems with the surgery at all,” Udoka said, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “It’s just that specific hit that he took (in Game 3).”
  • Because of the injury-related language and games-played requirements in Jonathan Isaac‘s contract with the Magic, his $17.4MM annual salaries for the next three years are now partially guaranteed instead of fully guaranteed, as Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. Isaac has missed two straight seasons due to an ACL tear, but there’s no indication that the Magic are considering waiving him, which is the only way they could avoid paying his full salaries.
  • Bobby Portis only shot 4-of-14 from the floor in the Bucks‘ Game 5 win on Wednesday, but he grabbed 15 rebounds and made the sort of crucial hustle plays the team values, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Averaging a double-double (11.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG) so far this postseason, Portis is once again displaying his value ahead of possible free agency. He holds a $4.6MM player option for 2022/23.