Bucks forward/center Bobby Portis has the ability to become an unrestricted free agent this summer by turning down his $4.56MM player option for 2022/23. However, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack article that some teams with interest in Portis are extremely pessimistic about their chances of luring the veteran out of Milwaukee.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Portis will exercise his player option. Because he has spent the last two seasons with the Bucks, they now hold his Early Bird rights and would be able to offer him a raise if he opts out. There’s an expectation that Portis will sign a multiyear deal with Milwaukee if he declines his option, according to Stein.
Assuming the Bucks use Portis’ Early Bird rights to re-sign him, they’ll have to offer him a deal covering at least two seasons, since Early Bird contracts can’t be for just one year. They can also offer up to 105% of the league-average salary from the previous season — that should result in a maximum starting salary in the vicinity of $11MM.
Here’s more from Stein:
- Based on the rumors circulating in coaching circles, it sounds as if Juwan Howard was the Lakers‘ preferred candidate in their head coaching search, according to Stein. Los Angeles made such “strong overtures” to Howard that it appeared the team preferred him to other long-shot targets like Quin Snyder and Doc Rivers and was willing to offer him the job if he wanted it, Stein adds. Howard wasn’t interested in leaving the University of Michigan, and L.A. ultimately hired Darvin Ham.
- The Celtics also had strong interest in Howard a year ago after Brad Stevens moved from the sidelines to the front office and before the team hired Ime Udoka, says Stein. The Lakers will be hoping their new hire works out as well as Udoka has in Boston.
- Stein continues to hear that the Hornets are likely to choose between Mike D’Antoni and Kenny Atkinson as they near the end of their head coaching search. D’Antoni and Atkinson were previously identified as finalists for the job, but it wasn’t clear if they were the only candidates still in play.