As initially reported by ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Portis is declining his $3.8 million player option for next season and will enter free agency after just one year with the Bucks. After a stellar showing in the team’s playoff run, this move was widely expected as the Portis outplayed that deal without question, and seeing him opt-in would have surely been surprising.
He will now hit the open market with no shortage of suitors looking to pursue him after a fantastic season. Of course, his lone year in Milwaukee was an eventful one as it ended with him proudly hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy and cementing his status forever as an NBA Champion.
Many teams with significant cap space will be looking to target Portis to improve their second unit with scoring, rebounding, and energy.
What is next for the Milwaukee Bucks after Bobby Portis decided to decline his player option?
It was always feasible to believe Portis would soon decline this option, and rumblings surfaced last week that the front office was in this same line of thinking. As vaguely hinted at by ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski, veteran journeyman Jeff Green could be a potential target for the Bucks as a Bobby Portis replacement, given that he leaves. Adding another big man would be crucial in the event that it happens, and Green would be one of the many intriguing figures for the team to target in an attempt to fill the void.
Yet, it seems like fans should not rule out the possibility of Portis returning just yet, as bleak as it might seem. For reference, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer released a roundup of speculation all across the league and mentioned how there is a “belief” that Portis and the Bucks hope to come to terms on a deal one way or another. Of course, both sides would certainly like to keep this pairing going, but the Bucks would have to scrounge up the money to do so. They are strapped for cash as-is, meaning they would have to pull some financial strings to make a competitive offer.
As it stands, the most the Bucks can offer Portis is $5.9 million, which would be far below what a team with more cap space would offer as a starting point. The 26-year-old took a significant pay cut to come to the team last offseason for a chance to compete, which worked out quite well for him. Now, no one could blame him for wanting to go out and get rewarded for a fantastic season after he proved to be one of the better sixth men in the league this season.
Ultimately, only time will tell how things pan out with NBA Free Agency set to begin on August 2. More news about Portis and the Bucks will undoubtedly come to light in the coming days with an action-packed free agency nearing, and be sure to stay tuned for the latest updates.