Bobby Portis has been an important piece to the Milwaukee Bucks since the day he put on a Bucks jersey. His mix of high energy and good floor spacing, shooting 40% from three on 3.6 attempts per game in his three seasons helped Cream City get their first title in 50 years.
Even with that, I pose this question: should the Bucks move on from the former Sixth Man of the Year candidate?
Portis is just entering the second year of a four-year deal he signed before the start of this season that pays him around $11.7 million for this upcoming season. Despite how well Portis has played over his time in Milwaukee, he may be a valuable trade asset to improve this roster.
The Bucks need another ball handler to take pressure off of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday. Right now this team doesn’t have that and we saw how bad things can get if they don’t. Miami keyed in on this and dominated Milwaukee in five games in a terrible first round for the Bucks.
I would wait until the new head coach is hired and the system of the team is clear.
As a sometimes impartial viewer, I would hate to see Portis go from the Bucks. He brings a sort of edge you need from your role players. Not only that, Portis brought a good scoring and rebounding punch off the bench and is good enough to start if needed.
Now for the trades. If I had to make a trade scenario for Portis, this is the first one I would do:
In this scenario, the Bucks would sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell while also acquiring a future first-round pick in 2029 that is top 10 protected. This is under the assumption that DLo would want to come to Milwaukee, meaning the Lakers would have less leverage to bring him back and the Bucks could squeeze that future first out of them.
While not a great defender, Russell is a solid ball-handler and good scorer off the bench. They could even start him and move Holiday to shooting guard. These would be the starting lineup possibilities for Milwaukee if this trade were to go down:
PG: Jrue Holiday, SG: Grayson Allen, SF: Khris Middleton, PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, C: Brook Lopez
PG: D’Angelo Russell, SG: Jrue Holiday, SF: Khris Middleton, PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, C: Brook Lopez
Meanwhile, the Lakers get a solid backup center with Mo Bamba only playing three games in the playoffs so far. With how much Anthony Davis gets injured, having Portis as an interim starting option would be very valuable for them.
If DLo doesn’t tickle your fancy, I have another option for the Bucks to pursue:
While not the playmaker that Russell is, Powell can still be the ball handler that Milwaukee needs. Powell is a two-way slasher who has an incredible three-point shot as he shot 39.7% from beyond the three-point line with 4.8 attempts per game. The Clippers are in an interesting spot as when they are fully healthy they are a title-contending team, and Powell is an excellent piece off the bench for them. The issue is that they never stay healthy and Powell didn’t start until Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were injured.
With this move, Powell can start for the Bucks and immediately brings immense value to this Bucks team. He and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt would make one of the best defensive backcourts in the NBA with solid offensive ability. While Powell does stand at 6’4”, the Bucks could employ him at small forward at times to spell a seemingly declining Khris Middleton.
Here is what my lineup would be if the Bucks were able to make this move:
PG: Jrue Holiday, SG: Norman Powell, SF: Khris Middleton, PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, C: Brook Lopez
As for the Clippers, they probably won’t bring back Mason Plumlee and Portis could bring some added value off the bench to keep Zubac fresher in games. Plus if the Clippers decide to keep the core together, Portis would be a valued floor spacer for PG13 and Leonard. He could even close some games at the four if need be. Crowder was added in as a wing piece to try and replace Powell and hopefully, he will have a more defined role with the Clippers.
There are going to be a lot of changes to happen to this Bucks team. That’s what happens when your team massively falls from NBA title contender to first-round exit. But while the changes are expected in Bucks fandom, I think Portis would be the hardest pill to swallow.