NBA Rumor: Bobby Portis Free Agency

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One follow-up to Friday’s item about free agent-to-be Bobby Portis and the belief among some interested teams that Portis is destined to re-sign to a multi-year deal with the Bucks in free agency: Via Early Bird rights, Milwaukee’s best offer to Portis is currently projected to be in the $48 million range over four seasons. More specificity about the most Portis can earn via the Early Bird provision will be available on June 30. Portis averaged 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds last season on a modest $4.6 million deal with the Bucks, who had no financial flexibility to pay him more.

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Bobby Portis a lock to stay in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis can become a free agent this offseason if he bypasses a $4.6 million player option for 2022-23, but there is already tangible resignation from some interested teams that they won’t have any shot at luring Portis away from the Bucks. The expectation already in circulation is that Portis will re-sign with Milwaukee on a multi-year deal even if he does opt for free agency.

Bobby Portis to command $12-$13 million contract this summer?

It means Bobby Portis and Connaughton will be able to shop their services on the open market, with the Bucks being able to match any offer extended to them. Whether the Bucks will match any offers thrown their way, though, is the big question. Portis was clearly underpaid this season and will receive a hefty raise. Connaughton is also in line for a pay bump. Portis’s salary this season is a paltry $4.37 million — a real bargain for the Bucks. The forward-center started 59 games (he played in 72) while averaging 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds. “He’s going to get, I believe, a contract for about $12 million, maybe $13 million a year,’’ an NBA executive said of Portis. “Now, whether that’s for three years or four years, I don’t know.’’ Another NBA official concurred.

“There has been talk he’ll get that amount ($12-13M),’’ the official said. “I think when he (Portis) signed last summer and took a low salary, they had a verbal agreement in place that he (Portis) would get lot more money and more than two years on his next contract.’’ While those officials agreed on Portis’ projected annual salary, another NBA official contends that figure may be low. “We have him rated as a higher-priced player,’’ he said, referring to his team. “We have him as a $15 million (a year) player.’’

Shams Charania: Milwaukee Bucks‘ Bobby Portis sits down with @Stadium: “I’ve been on a lot of stinker teams…I could really fill a role and impact winning. All I know how to do is be Bobby Portis.” Plus: Giannis recruiting him to re-sign in free agency, NBA title, more. pic.twitter.com/61K9lsXDeg

Bobby Portis: RUN THAT SHIT BACK! Proud to call Milwaukee my home. Wouldn’t want to be no where else! #UNDERDOG To the fans, thank you for your continued support. Now let’s get it! pic.twitter.com/Xwp8Yfwry1

Portis, who became a huge fan favorite in his first season with the Bucks, will undoubtedly draw keen interest from several teams. The most the Bucks could pay him is $5.9M, while several NBA officials said Portis could double that amount with another team. “He’s looking for a lot of money,’’ another NBA official said. “I heard he wants north of $15 million. That’s crazy. I don’t think he’s going to get that, but he could get a lot more than the Bucks can give him.’’

Bobby Portis: I like Milwaukee. Milwaukee cool, though. It’s better than people think it is, you know? It’s definitely better than people think it is. Obviously, like the big markets have the better food places, and the high-name food places and things like that, but being in Milwaukee is great. It’s great people there: sports town, they really love their sports. They love all the guys on the team… You know, sometimes you might go to a team where they only like the guys with the big names. You know, in Milwaukee, they love all of their guys. You go anywhere, you get love, people cheer for you, they got your back. They’re just fanatics, bro,

Bobby Portis has a $3.8 million player option, and Bryn Forbes has a $2.4 million player option. Both of those guys exceeded those contracts exponentially, and they’re both expected to opt out. It looks to me, especially for a guy like Portis who played really well, it’s going to be tough for Milwaukee to keep him. It’s going to be interesting to see if Bobby, who is adored by fans in Milwaukee, is maybe willing to give the organization some type of a discount.

Bobby Portis on free agency: 'I haven't even thought about it yet'

You signed a one-plus-one last offseason, so you have a player option this summer and you will be a coveted free agent. The Bucks will surely want you back. But what’s your approach right now? Bobby Portis: To be honest, I haven’t even thought about it yet. I woke up Sunday morning out of my bed … I didn’t go to sleep on Saturday night after we won the Eastern Conference … I woke up and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m f—— really going to the NBA Finals.’ That’s been my whole mindset. We’re really in the Finals. Walking into the gym, seeing the Larry O’Brien trophy everywhere, that’s where my mind is right now. To complete the mission. I’m just a team guy trying to do everything I can to help the team win.

“I actually hit Giannis up and told him I can come help the team and I can help everyone out,” Portis told The Athletic recently. “He went to the boss (front office) and told him come and get me. It made it better, having a guy like that back me and having confidence in me every day. Just be myself — it makes it that much funner and that much easier for me to come play the game. The biggest thing with me this year is that I’m at peace with myself finally. I finally found myself in my career. The journey is what I appreciate the most about the NBA, man.

Portis has shot the ball extremely well this season: He connected on 52 percent of his shots, including 47.1 percent on 3-pointers. That ranked third in the league, trailing only Brooklyn’s Joe Harris (47.5 percent) and Marcus Morris (47.3 percent) of the Los Angeles Clippers. “He’s going to get a pay raise, for sure,’’ said an Eastern Conference official whose team will be in the market this summer for a stretch four like Portis. “I can see him doubling his salary. He could get up to $10M from a team that would give him a bigger role.’’

The idea of taking a bad contract into cap space could be one of several avenues the Knicks are considering this offseason. Depending on what they decide to do with the contract options for Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock, New York could have more than $60 million in cap room in the offseason. The Knicks, who told teams recently they’d be open to taking on a bad contract, have not made decisions on any players with options yet.

There was no way Portis could live up to that money. But the 25-year-old put together some massive games — including single-handedly beating his former club, the Bulls, with 28 points in 30 minutes in a contest MSG Network replayed Tuesday night. Portis, quarantining in his home state of Arkansas, made $15 million this season and a $15.7 million team option exists for next season. “At the time of the signing it was a little high, but they got an option,’’ one NBA personnel director told The Post. “So to get that they had to pay the premium, but I can’t imagine they can keep him.”
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