They say all good things must come to an end, but this good thing has run its course awfully fast. Bobby Portis, everybody’s favorite reserve, has decided to opt out of the second year of his contract and enter free agency.
Milwaukee Bucks F Bobby Portis is declining his $3.8M player option and will become a free agent, his agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 31, 2021
In his sixth NBA season, Portis had a breakout campaign with Milwaukee. In 66 games he shot 52.3% from the field (by far a career high) and 47.1% from deep (also a career high), and hustled his way into per-game averages of 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds. As the third big in the playoff rotation (counting PJ Tucker as more of a wing), Portis put pressure on the boards, ran the floor hard in transition, and generally gave the Bucks a certain toughness that they had lacked in previous years.
More impressive than all that, Portis fell out of the playoff rotation against the Brooklyn Nets and...stayed locked in. He came through in a big way against the Atlanta Hawks (particularly when Giannis Antetokounmpo went down and missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals), and in the NBA Finals Portis found a groove with his feathery outside touch complementing his relentless crashing of the glass.
Portis could have stuck around for another season in Milwaukee, but his contract would only pay him $3.8M for the year, a total he’s highly likely to eclipse with his next deal. The Bucks can technically re-sign him but, as we covered in our offseason primer, the most Milwaukee can offer is the Taxpayer MLE, which tops out at $5.89M to start. Portis found a role as Milwaukee’s beloved reserve forward...but if he can make a ton more money while collecting his applause whenever his new team visits Fiserv Forum, that gives him the best of both worlds (well, at least the financial one).
The reality is, Bobby Portis has this opportunity to maximize his earnings, and the Bucks simply can’t match what he’s likely to earn on the open market. So, with heavy hearts, we close this newser with a solemn chant...
Free agency starts on August 2 at 5:00pm (central).