Bobby Portis entered free agency eyeing up to $16 million, and the New York Knicks nearly matched it at the end of the open market’s first night. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both parties agreed to a two-year, $31 million contract. The second season is a team option.
After giving Randle and Gibson a combined average annual value of $31 million, this seemed curious. Portis jumped into a now crowded frontcourt that head coach David Fizdale must work through with playing time. Maybe that becomes a good problem to have if the Knicks win more games than expected.
However, Portis plays a similar game to Randle. The former is not as proficient around the rim, but is more adept to stretch the floor; his three-point percentage has climbed in each season, topping out at 39.3 in 2018-19 with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
Defense, like Randle, is a concern. His career 0.3 blocks per game will not cause excitement, and a 112 Defensive Rating indicates such.
This is a signing for Portis’ offensive output. The question is if that comes off the bench or if the Knicks pair him and Randle as the starters, forcing Robinson to the bench.
Going for Robinson’s defense and Randle’s scoring — plus the money the Knicks gave him — is the intriguing duo to start with. That makes Portis an expensive sixth man. Maybe New York is fine with that, as they had money to spend and overpay players on short-term contracts. This is not the ideal player to lead the bench, but on a roster that will struggle to win 25-to-30 games, they can experiment.