Bobby Portis has been one of the Bulls’ best players this preseason, putting up 18.8 points per game on a scorching 56.4 percent shooting. Thanks to his consistent production and Jabari Parker’s awfulness, Portis has even already taken Parker’s spot in the starting lineup.
It’s unclear if Portis will start the regular season as a starter, but he knows he’ll be heading back to the bench when Lauri Markkanen returns from his elbow injury. Portis has embraced the sixth-man role and told 670 The Score Thursday he’s gunning for Sixth Man of the Year.
Adding another layer to Portis’ situation is his potential contract extension. Bulls GM Gar Forman noted at media day that there have been discussions, and Portis discussed the matter Thursday ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline:
Portis is an interesting extension case. He’s coming off a career year and based on his preseason looks ready to take another step. Markkanen’s injury is giving him a bit more time to shine and will continue to until the Bulls’ prized youngster comes back.
However, the Bulls appear to have their starting frontcourt of the future in Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. And while Portis clearly has value, his role on a good team is likely that of sixth man. The Bulls view Portis as a member of the core, but they may not want to lock in an extension for a sixth man at the price he wants, especially with a huge free-agency period approaching in 2019....