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Report: Ex-Knicks F Bobby Portis, Bucks Agree to 2-Year Contract with Option

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2020

New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. The Kings won 103-101. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Bobby Portis has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Portis' deal includes a player option for the second year.

On the eve of free agency, the New York Knicks declined Portis' $15.8 million team option. They had just selected Dayton star Obi Toppin in the first round of the 2020 draft and still have Julius Randle under contract, so the move wasn't surprising.

The 25-year-old averaged 10.1 points and 5.1 rebounds over 66 games for the Knicks. He also shot 45.0 percent from the field and 35.8 percent on three-pointers.

Portis showed promise early into his Chicago Bulls tenure and broke through in his third year. Despite playing a reserve role, he averaged 13.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 2017-18 and looked like a building block in Chicago's long-term plans.

His value has never really taken off from there.

The 2015 first-rounder could be a shrewd addition for Milwaukee nonetheless.

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The 6'10" forward is a good stretch big at a time when that player type has never been valued more. He shot 35.6 percent from the perimeter in catch-and-shoot situations, per NBA.com, which is good enough to force opposing defenses to stay honest.

His rebounding was so uncharacteristically poor that positive regression could be in store too. According to Basketball Reference, he had a 12.9 percent rebounding rate in 2019-20 after having never finished below 16.0 percent before that.

The Athletic's John Hollinger hit on Portis' biggest weakness while projecting him to be a free agent who warranted the veteran's minimum:

"Portis has been held back thus far by his struggles at the defensive end. He's not a rim protector but also struggles to move his feet on the perimeter. At 6-10, 250, he's the new 'tweener' in the NBA, one stuck between 4 and 5 on the defensive spectrum but not capable of guarding either spot effectively."

Portis was 75th among power forwards in defensive real plus-minus (minus-0.76) last year, per ESPN. Late in games, his usage could be limited to the point he isn't even an option because of how much opposing coaches could target him.

Last offseason, the Knicks significantly overvalued the former Arkansas Razorback's worth. Now that he has a more reasonable contract, he's a solid signing for a Bucks team capable of winning a title next season.

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