Portis Hurt By, Also Understanding Of Trade

"It was tough for me, but I've moved on now," Bobby Portis says.

Cody Westerlund
February 09, 2019 - 10:25 pm
Wizards forward Bobby Portis (5)

Brad Mills/USA Today Sports


CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- As Bobby Portis made his way to the locker room after his Wizards' 134-125 win at the United Center on Saturday evening, he took a moment to embrace a Bulls staffer. Several steps later, he bro-hugged another familiar face, the good vibes flowing.

The scene came three days after Portis was dealt from Chicago, the place he proclaimed he wanted to play forever, to Washington. He was happy that basketball was a sanctuary as he was still dealing with the aftershock of the career-altering move.

"I took it really tough," Portis said of the trade. "I didn't see it coming. I was seeing all the things on Twitter, people kept at-ing me (in) rumors and stories. Never thought I'd get traded, but it's basketball. I think I did a good job of taking it the right way and just moving on.

"Everybody knows how much I prided myself playing for the Bulls, I prided (myself) on playing for the city of Chicago. I think that's known by everybody in the Bulls organization. Obviously, I got my first taste of the business side of basketball. You don't really get your way all the time. It's not really your choice. I have to roll with it now. I was hurt for the last 48 hours, but when I got to the game yesterday (his Wizards debut), those emotions went away."

In his return to the United Center that came in just his second game as a Wizard, Portis came off the bench and had 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting, 12 rebounds, two blocks and some trash talk for his former team. The Bulls played a tribute video for Portis and teammate Jabari Parker -- also part of the package that sent Otto Porter to the Bulls -- early in the first quarter.

Portis appeared emotional and waved to the crowd after an ovation.

"It was a great feeling just to have a tribute video," Portis said. "I feel like I put a lot of hours, time, blood sweat and tears into playing for the Bulls. And suddenly it was gone. It was tough for me, but I've moved on now. But I would never forget those three-and-half years I had wearing No. 5 for the Bulls."

In the aftermath of the trade, Portis expressed a different tone on Twitter than he did postgame Saturday. In one tweet, he posted "lol" above a comment that relayed the Bulls' explanation for the trade -- they prioritized investing in a starting small forward in Porter over a backup big man in Portis.

Portis meant no ill will with any social media comments.

"I was just being sarcastic," Portis said. "I was just having fun. Twitter, I just use for having fun, expressing myself a little bit. No bad feelings. I'm with a team right now, we're in the playoff hunt. We're a couple a games back from making the playoffs, so I'm really focused on that."

In the final year of his rookie contract, Portis turned down a four-year deal from the Bulls just before the regular season started last October that has been reported to have been worth between $40 million and $50 million. In the eyes of some league observers, it appeared to be a fair offer, but Portis indicated there was another wrinkle to the story.

Those numbers included incentives that would've been hard to reach. He felt he was worth more, and he'll now enter restricted free agency in July with the Wizards holding the right to match any offer.

"I wanted to clear that up," Portis said. "But I don't have any regrets, man. I feel like I'm playing some good basketball right now. My confidence is back. I'm picking my spots to score the basketball at. It's fun to play this game."

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.