Bobby Portis Declines $4.6M Bucks Contract Option, Will Become Free Agent

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 29, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 29: Bobby Portis #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on March 29, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Bobby Portis intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent, his agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Milwaukee Bucks F Bobby Portis has informed the team that he’ll decline his $4.6M option and become a free agent, his agent Mark Bartelstein of <a href="https://twitter.com/PrioritySports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PrioritySports</a> tells ESPN.

Winning a championship typically boosts a player's earning power, even when he occupied a somewhat peripheral role in his team's success.

In the case of Portis, he was seemingly in a solid position entering 2021 free agency after averaging 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds and shooting 34.6 percent from three-point territory in the playoffs during the Bucks' run to a title.

Instead, he probably took less than he could've earned elsewhere in order to return to Milwaukee, signing for $9 million over two years.

Portis continued to bolster his value in 2021-22, and Brook Lopez's back injury meant he had to occupy a larger role in the frontcourt than he had in the year before.

The 27-year-old averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from the perimeter. His best performance came in the Bucks' 137-108 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 5. He finished with 30 points on 11-of-13 shooting.

Even if he intends to stay with Milwaukee the entire time, all signs pointed to Portis opting out and signing a new contract.

The 6'10" small-ball center is perfectly tailored to the current game. On offense, he can stretch the floor because of the threat he poses from outside. On defense, he can hold his own inside and on the glass.

According to NBA.com, Portis held opponents to 58.4 percent shooting inside six feet, 5.8 percent worse than their normal rate. The gap was nearly the same (5.3 percent) when he was defending three-pointers.

On the other end of the floor, the 2015 first-round pick shot 40.5 percent on catch and shoots, per NBA.com.

Portis isn't a star who single-handedly elevates a franchise, but he's exactly the kind of complementary piece who can fill out a championship-caliber roster. His presence has helped the Bucks build an offense that aligns perfect with the strengths and limitations of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

With so many of the best free agents either restricted variety or limited to a small pool of suitors, Portis is presumably in a good position to surpass the $4.6 million he would've earned from his player option.

He appears to have found a comfort zone in Milwaukee, but that might only go so far depending on what kind of offers are thrown his way. A proven contributor in the regular season and playoffs, he figures to be on the radars of multiple contending teams.