Portis said he didn’t view the Knicks as the best situation entering 2019-20, and wasn’t sure if the new leadership group of Leon Rose, William Wesley and coach Tom Thibodeau would change that. Clearly, it has, but Portis appears happy with where he is, playing in the Finals with Milwaukee.
“Obviously, Leon and (Wesley) and those guys were going to come in and try to change it around, but I just wanted to go to a winning culture and where I felt like I can fit in with guys,” Portis said. “I watched the bubble last season and I watched Milwaukee a lot, and I felt like it was a team I really fit on.”
Portis, 26, is averaging 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in the playoffs. This after averages of 11.7 points and 7.1 boards in 66 regular-season games. Basically, he has been a key cog in a Bucks run that few predicted.
All this and he turned down a $15.7 million option to accept the Bucks’ biannual-exception offer of $3.6 million for this season. But he said salary wasn’t the only consideration.
Here are a few other highlights from the Portis interview with Charania:
On free agency: “I actually hit Giannis (Antetokounmpo) up and told him I can come help the team and I can help everyone out. He went to the boss (front office) and told him come and get me. … I didn’t know Giannis much. So being able to reach out to him and him responding back was great. He was over in Greece. We were in two different time zones so I had to catch him when he was seven hours. I finally caught up with him, and everything worked out.”
On the fight with ex-Bulls teammate Nikola Mirotic: “Me and Mirotic, we always got into altercations. That wasn’t our first time. The guys in the front office knew that. That one was a little different. Some of the things that got misconstrued was that I sucker-punched him or whatever. The guys that were there at the time, they knew what happened. If it was that serious, they wouldn’t have offered me a contract extension. … What’s so crazy is me and (Mirotic) were balling together when he came back from injury. I haven’t talked to him since then, but no hard feelings at all my way. I was 22 at the time, and he was 26 or something. So we were both young guys. That’s a blur for me.”
On taking a discount to sign with the Bucks: “The bubble did it for me. Years before, when my team didn’t make the playoffs, I was able to take my mind off of it. Going on a trip with my family or traveling or flying here and working out there. But last year when my team wasn’t invited to the bubble, I think that’s when I had enough of it because I was at home for f—ing nine months from March to November. No NBA games to play in, just straight working out.”