The trade deadline is approaching with the same speed that Mike Miller implemented his own offensive and defensive schemes, and Bobby Portis can apparently be added to the list of Knicks being coveted by other teams.
That’s according to SNY’s Ian Begley, who reported on Monday that multiple teams might be interested in a deal for New York’s 6-foot-10 backup power forward/center. The identities of the teams that have shown interest are not clear, but given some of his recent output — Portis has put up double figures 15 times this year, recently had 30 against Miami and just scored 17, 17 and then 20 in three consecutive games at the end of December and beginning of January — it’s not too surprising that suitors have started to emerge.
Portis, who turns 25 next month, is posting 10 points (44% from the field, 38% from deep) and almost six rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game this year. He’s a capable scorer and intimidating figure on the court, but he’s part of a logjam in the front court and the Knicks should really consider trading him. Heck, Portis himself might be fine with a change of scenery, considering this year marks the least minutes per game he’s played since his second season in the league.
As Begley noted in his writeup about the rumor, Portis signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Knicks in the offseason, but the second year is a team option. Although his minutes have been limited, Portis hasn’t exactly looked like the spark that will ignite a successful turnaround for this franchise, so if there are other teams out there that think he could help them, the Knicks should pounce.
Mitchell Robinson is the future at center, and Julius Randle is locked in at the four position through at least next season. Meanwhile, Taj Gibson has proven to be an adept veteran presence who can play the five, and Marcus Morris is the team’s leading scorer. If Portis is dealt, maybe Kevin Knox can get some minutes at power forward in a small-ball lineup featuring Randle at center. Let’s get crazy with it.
Additionally, moving Portis would make room for the Knicks to bring Kenny Wooten up from the G-League. In case you haven’t seen his highlights before, Wooten is a monster.
Once the Knicks trade their vets I hope they sign Kenny Wooten and let him do all kinds of crazy high-flying shit. https://t.co/S04Z3hgsJL— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) December 15, 2019
Of course, this is the Knicks, so things are very fluid. Randle and Morris have also been tied to trade rumors, and both would fetch more value in a trade, but Portis is the guy who truly seems expendable. And the Knicks “would much rather” trade Portis over Morris, according to this recent story from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
His recent high-scoring affairs notwithstanding, Portis’ minutes are often less inspiring than one would hope. When he gets subbed in and the ball finds its way to him in the post, Portis does a lot of “I finally got the ball, so now I’m going to shoot it no matter what.” Still, his size and ability to shoot the three make him a potentially solid piece on a contending team.
Though he was drafted in the first round back in 2015 (22nd overall by the Chicago Bulls), it seems unlikely that a trade would net the Knicks anything more than a second round draft pick and some contracts to make the money work. This team is building for the future, however, so the front office should feel free to compile as many draft picks as they can.
Portis is just the latest in a line of Knicks who could be involved in trades as the Feb. 6 deadline draws ever nearer. As previously noted, Randle and Morris have also been bandied about, as has Dennis Smith Jr. The latter of that trio is the only player currently tied to an actual team, with reports showing the Minnesota Timberwolves as being interested in the currently injured point guard.
As last season showed us, anything can happen at the trade deadline. Some teams even trade the face of their franchise for a guy who reportedly wants to be moved less than a season later!
Stay on your toes, y’all. And don’t forget to vote for Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina for the All-Star team!