Technically, Bobby Portis has been a free agent four times.
In 2019, he signed with the New York Knicks. In 2020, of course, he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. After opting out after the championship race, he returned for another season last year. He opted out again, setting the stage for his first long-term contract since his rookie deal in Chicago.
This free-agent twist was a bit different, one that Portis considered an honor to experience, as several teams approached him early and wanted him on their rosters. But for the third time, Portis has agreed to return to Milwaukee on a four-year, $48.5 million deal with the Bucks, a deal that became official Wednesday.
It sets the stage for him to stay in one city for the longest period of his professional career.
But that doesn’t mean he’s going to settle.
“My mindset is I’m never really sure,” he said Thursday after a workout. “I always have the underdog mentality, any day, anything can change. Just because they love you today, they may not love you tomorrow. That has always been my mentality in this league.
“My veterans taught me that at a young age, my agent taught me that at a young age as well coming into this league. My mindset will always be that someone is trying to take my place and I have to push each and every one.” Every day to show why I’m worth what I’m worth.
“But it’s great to finally have some security in the league and finally be in a place where you want to be and you can still keep trying to win. You don’t really get all of that in one to be here.” It’s great for me, to have the opportunity to compete each and every night, to play meaningful basketball games, and I think that’s what I like to do: play in meaningful games and not just play for the sake of playing.”
And after two seasons of saying he turned down more lucrative offers to sign and re-sign with the Bucks, the team offered the most they could by virtue of the “advance rights” they had on him. But there was more, too. HoopsHype, owned by USA TODAYreported that there is a 15% trade-in in the deal in case it is spread and the fourth year is another option for the player.
“I think it’s great, man, to have an organization that believes in you, to have an organization that likes you,” Portis said. “It’s not always like that for players in the league. Opportunity is everything in this league and sometimes guys can play but they never get a chance to show what they can do because of the guys in front of them, the situation they’re in or whatever the situation is. situation.
“So for me to be able to come here, make an impact, that’s the biggest thing I love to do, and being on a championship team and having a front office that believes in me, having teammates that trust me to go out there and just every night, to have fan support like no other I’ve experienced in the league, it’s great.
“Especially with them doing everything they can to bring me back, hats off to them. That’s a lot of respect I have for (general manager) Jon Horst and his staff.”
But if there was any idea that the 27-year-old could immediately go out and celebrate his new contract, it immediately put him to bed by holding several workouts during the vacation week at the team’s practice facility.
“I don’t have anything to celebrate though, man,” he said. “Hard work. I work on my game. That’s what I love to do in the summer. I dedicate all my time to basketball.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen more movies about some of the guys that I want to emulate my game on, the Kevin Garnetts of the world, the Rasheed Wallaces of the world, just some of the things that they do with their game to be a basketball player. complete.
“Obviously, I’m glad the Bucks chose to bring me back and we met on terms and this and that, but I’ll always feel like I have something to prove. Obviously, I’m happy that I had the opportunity to create generational wealth for my family, but there is still a lot of work to do and there is no time or need to celebrate.
“I work hard, I work on my game. I always knew that one day I would come back if I believed in myself, I believed in God. Obviously, when you’re a young player in this league, I turned down a big, lucrative deal before and people called me crazy and I always knew I’d come back once, I just had to keep working.”
Portis’ re-signing was the Bucks’ main offseason move, as Horst and his staff doubled down on the roster that won 51 games last year and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Bucks also brought back free agent guards Wesley Matthews and Jevon Carter and center Serge Ibaka and Pat Connaughton opted out of the final year of their contracts.
The newest faces were veteran forward Joe Ingles, who signed a one-year deal, and first-round pick MarJon Beauchamp.
“Just think the most important thing is staying healthy, building our camaraderie, guys go out of their way during the regular season,” Portis said. there are one or two things that you do very well, so you have to go to your third or fourth option.
“I think we need to focus a lot more on that, especially with some of the guys, in case they knock on wood, hypothetically speaking, if somebody goes down, the guys are going to be ready to do things that they’re not normally used to.” making. I think that is something important now for our team in the future. Then the most important thing is to develop camaraderie in general, to be connected on and off the court.”