Bobby Portis isn’t a name that’s going to get any Los Angeles Lakers fans hyped up or anything, not when it looks like the team might still be able to finagle their way to max cap space following their trade for Anthony Davis.
But still, there is at least a chance the Lakers don’t land another star and have to go after less well-known names. And even if Portis isn’t necessarily the best fit for the team, it appears they have some level of interest in him this summer, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, although exactly how much isn’t clear:
But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.
Hughes isn’t known as a newsbreaker about the Lakers, but it’s easy to imagine who else (i.e. Portis’ agency) might know who has expressed interest in the 6’11 power forward, so this is probably accurate enough.
And if the Lakers do indeed see Portis as interesting, the reasons why he’d have caught their eyes are clear. The 24-year-old is just entering his fourth year in the NBA, and he’s shown a bit of promise so far, averaging 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds (both career bests) while also shooting 50.7 percent from the field in his most recent campaign.
But being interested in Portis isn’t the same as signing him. We don’t know when exactly Hughes was told this, and maybe it was before the Lakers agreed to the trade for Davis, but now that they have, it’s hard to see where Portis fits in for a Lakers team that only has three rotation players right now (Kyle Kuzma, LeBron James and Davis), all of whom are expected to spend some degree of time at power forward this season.
Add in the fact that Portis is a restricted free agent — so the Lakers would probably have to pay a pretty penny to get him — and he doesn’t make a ton of sense for a team with a ton of other holes to fill. Maybe they’ll sniff around or express interest in case more sensible options flame out, but logically this just doesn’t line up much as a real enough target that the team would sign him, or at least not right now.