Bulls, Bobby Portis Don't Reach Extension

Portis will become a restricted free agent next summer.

Cody Westerlund
October 15, 2018 - 5:04 pm
Bulls forward Bobby Portis

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports


(670 The Score) The Bulls and big man Bobby Portis failed to reach a contract extension off his rookie deal before the 5 p.m. deadline Monday, meaning he's on a course to be a restricted free agent next July.

Amicable negotiations continued in recent days, but a few of the dynamics in play didn't favor a deal getting done now. The Bulls already have their foundational big man pairing in Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, meaning they had little reason to budge in negotiations off the price point they preferred. The Bulls have also long touted their financial flexibility for next summer, and signing Portis to an extension now would've cut into some of the salary cap space that they're projected to have. Chicago will also hold a fair deal of leverage next summer just by the nature of restricted free agency.

Portis, 23, posted career-high averages of 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds on 47.1 percent shooting last season, when he solidified his standing as a key reserve. It's a role he embraced, setting the goal of winning the Sixth Man of the Year award this season. From his perspective, he has another season to prove his worth and receive a big payday. The Bulls selected him No. 22 overall in the 2015 draft.

By virtue of an elbow injury suffered by Markkanen and an uneven play from Jabari Parker, Portis is now likely to start at power forward when Chicago opens its regular season at Philadelphia on Thursday night. He had a standout preseason, averaging 17 points on 53.7 percent shooting.

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