By: Thomas Gibbons
Bobby Portis averaged 22.5 minutes per game this season. He was tied for first in the NBA in scoring (13.2 PPG) for players averaging under 23 minutes per game.
Back in March, Vincent Goodwill of of NBC Sports Chicago reported a contract extension will be discussed with forward Bobby Portis this summer. The former 22nd overall selection in 2015 will be entering the final year of his deal next season.
Portis, averaged 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season, drastically improved and became a big part of the Bulls rotation this season. In Portis’ first two years in Chicago, we saw the potential for him but the production was not consistent. Near the end of the 2016-2017 campaign, the former Arkansas Razorback started to find his rhythm. Anyone remember game one vs. Boston at the Garden last year? Portis went off for 19 points in a Bulls 106-102 win. Oh the memories of playoff Rondo also come back to mind.
When asked about a contract extension in an interview with Sam Smith of Bulls.com, Portis said, “I really haven’t thought about (a new contract or extension). I am just enjoying the ride, trying to finish strong and have more good performances and get some wins these last games and have fun. I feel everything will take care of itself if I play hard.”
Portis has always shown plenty of emotion and willingness to get better. He saw career high’s in points and rebounds and shot 36% from three this season.
Most of his game action this season came off the bench and he took full advantage of it. In the month of March, Portis shot 39% from three, including a 39 point game vs. 76ers going 6-9 from behind the strip. We saw a few instances of that this season where Portis has the ability to change games with his outside shooting ability.
So going back to Portis’ contract, he will be a free agent next summer. Given his production this season and development into a solid role player, it’s not going to be cheap deal. So what could the figures look like? For starters, it’s not going to be below what Cristiano Felicio is making, around eight million dollars the next two seasons. Portis has shown he can impact the game more than Felicio and his numbers grew as the season went on.
Felicio received 4 year, $32 million deal last offseason. And so far, that looks like a big mistake by the Bulls front office.
Looking around the association, Portis could see money like Meyers Leonard got from the Trail Blazers. While Portis’s numbers are a lot better, a 4 year, $41M contract would be very reasonable. Just a thought.
If the Bulls do agree to an extension this summer with Portis, I would think it would be in the $35 million to $40 million range over 4-5 years. Portis is only 23 years old and while he may not earn a starting spot, he can become Fre Hoiberg’s sixth man and leader of the second group.