Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis stands as one of best free agency bargains

Feb 14, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 14, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports) /

There’s very little question to whether Bobby Portis has been enjoying his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Even as the Bucks have gone through some uncharacteristic ups and downs after losing their last four games, at least compared to the Mike Budenholzer era, Portis has relished his career renaissance since arriving to Milwaukee by playing his most optimized basketball.

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To that point, Portis is averaging career highs in 3-point percentage (48.4 percent), effective field goal percentage (61.5 percent) and true shooting percentage (62.2 percent) while scoring 11.8 points in his 28 appearances on the year.

That kind of offensive boost has been felt on the Bucks as a whole as the Arkansas product holds a +11.2 net rating on the team, a mark that only trails Pat Connaughton, per

To think the Bucks landed Portis on a two-year, $7.4 million deal by way of their bi-annual exception after he quickly entered free agency waters early on in the offseason. While not perfect, Portis has certainly brought a different dimension than they’ve had previously within their frontcourt.

Bobby Portis has lived up to the value of his minimal, short-term deal.

In a recent piece by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lori Nickel ($$), Portis revealed that he could have signed back with the New York Knicks for an eight-figure deal after they had declined his $15 million team option for this season.

The 26-year-old had previously intimated as such before, which was corroborated by Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham in a recent interview on WTMJ’s Courtside with the Milwaukee Bucks with Gale Klappa:

"“(Portis) took less money to be here, a lot of people don’t know this, but he took less money to be here because he wanted to be a part of a winning situation, so that speak volumes to about who he is as an individual.”"

Of course, the Bucks run the risk of seeing Portis potentially decline his $3.8 million player option for next season, should he be able to maintain his production and opposing teams take notice of his rejuvenated play in the summer. After all, the perception that gradually followed Portis led to the Bucks snatching him up for the kind of deal both sides agreed to early on in free agency.

That’s the risk that comes with Portis’ contract structure, but it was certainly a calculated one on the part of the 26-year-old as he looked to right his career after logging multiple stops around the league over the last couple of years.

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Of course, bigger things are on Portis and the Bucks’ minds right now by trying to put a stop their four-game losing streak. But even the biggest skeptics towards Portis and his fit in Milwaukee would agree he has a brought a much-needed lift to this Bucks team, especially at a bargain price.