“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.