The Toronto Raptors must come away from the 2022 NBA free agency period with nothing less than a massive haul if they want to enter into that elite tier in the Eastern Conference. Adding a player like Milwaukee Bucks big man Bobby Portis would immediately give Toronto an impact big man that won’t necessarily break the bank.
Portis was putting up solid numbers on some anonymous Bulls teams and a disaster of a Knicks squad, but he has since proven that he can contribute to a winning team like Milwaukee. Portis has the best two-season stretch of his career with Milwaukee, one of which brought him a championship rim.
Portis has a $4.6 million player option for next season. There is about a 200% chance that he declines that, give or take a few points here and there. Portis will likely look to cash in with a team that could help him slide some more rings on the finger, and Toronto could give him that chance.
At the intersection of value, production, and positional fit, Ujiri will find Portis. At just 27 years old, he doesn’t have a ton of tread on his tires. If the Raptors can find the necessary cap space, adding Portis would signify that Ujiri recognizes how unacceptable the frontcourt depth was last season.
The Toronto Raptors need to look at Bobby Portis.
Portis averaged 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, both of which were the best averages he’s compiled in his career. Portis is one of the best big man shooters in the league, as evidenced by his 42% 3-point percentage on 3.6 attempts per game during his time in Milwaukee.
Even with the development of Precious Achiuwa off of the bench, Portis would instantly be the best player on Toronto’s bench and an instant Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
If the Raptors want to get creative by pushing Gary Trent Jr. to the bench and starting Portis at center, the Arkansas alum should be able to help space the floor and power through some of the East’s more experienced big men. That’s worth a big multi-year deal.
As Eric Koreen of The Athletic points out, the Heat were able to woo PJ Tucker away from the Heat last year by calling Milwaukee’s bluff and overpaying him in free agency. Toronto could do the same, even if it pushes them ever closer to the luxury tax. Double-double machines who can defend like him don’t come around every day.
Portis must be extremely convinced of Toronto’s long-term potential if he is to leave a Bucks team that will likely pay him whatever he desires. Pursuing him will be fraught with pitfalls, but he would be an ideal signing for Toronto.