Wizards’ Bobby Portis reveals Bulls GM Gar Forman said he wouldn’t be traded, unless for a superstar
New Washington Wizards addition Bobby Portis has had a wild couple of weeks after the Chicago Bulls traded him before the trade deadline, putting an end to his three-plus-year stint in The Windy City. Portis was finding his groove after an injury-plagued start to the season, exploding for a season-high 33 points.
Portis began to see trade rumors on the internet, which resulted in his agent placing a call to Bulls general manager Gar Forman to see what was up. Forman apparently assured Portis he wouldn’t be traded unless a superstar was coming back, but the power forward wound up going to the Wizards along with Jabari Parker for Otto Porter Jr.
Portis relayed the chain of events to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:
“It’s been a crazy two weeks,” Portis said. “On Sunday [before the trade deadline], I was seeing rumors and stuff on Twitter and Instagram so I called my agent. I asked him, “Am I in trade talks?” My agent immediately called Gar Forman, who is the GM of the Bulls. Gar Forman said, “No, it would have to be a blockbuster trade. If we were getting [a superstar like] LeBron James or Kevin Durant, then yeah, we’d trade Bobby. But [otherwise], no, we’re not trading Bobby.
“So Tuesday comes around and I’m at a G-League game when my agent called me. He said he got a call from Gar and [Bulls VP of Basketball Operations] John Paxson and they were asking questions like, “Does Bobby really want to be here? Does Bobby love being a Bull? Is he fine with his role?” I’ve been having a good year and I guess they were trying to see if I still wanted to be in Chicago. And, obviously, my answer was yes. Who doesn’t want to play for the great city of Chicago? Who doesn’t want to play at United Center and be a Bull?
“On Wednesday, [I’m thinking], “I know for sure that I’m going to be a Bull after the deadline.” We had a game that night, so I went through my pregame routine, got taped, put my jersey on and sat in the locker room. Twenty-three minutes before the game started, one of the coaches told me that our head coach, Jim Boylen, wanted to talk with me. I walked into his office and I see Gar, Pax and Coach Boylen. They told me that they had agreed in principle to trade me. I asked, “Where am I going?” Then, they were hesitant to say. They finally said the Wizards.
“My heart dropped. My stomach dropped. I didn’t know what to think. I went back to the locker room and I was just hugging everybody, shaking everyone’s hand. Everybody was in shock because nobody knew I was going to be traded. That wasn’t even a thought anyone had considered because they loved me there. It was a crazy feeling. Then, my phone started going haywire, so I guess that’s when the news dropped and everybody found out.”
Porter was a player the Wizards had sworn they wouldn’t trade before the deadline due to the poor return packages they had gotten from other teams. Porter is a deft player, but he is no star in this league, much less a LeBron James or Kevin Durant-caliber player.
While Forman spoke to the agent and words could have been lost in translation, it seems like he didn’t keep his part of the deal, looking for the right opportunity to move Portis once it presented itself.
The pre-trade questions are often a tactic by a front office to excuse a move, much like the New York Knicks pulled with Kristaps Porzingis, with reports of his unhappiness with the team leaked minutes before he was shipped to Dallas.
It looks like Portis was once again the victim of the business side of the NBA, one that can be cruel and ruthless at a moment’s notice.
The move, though, seems to have worked out for the young stretch big, who scored 24 and 30 points, respectively, in two of his recent games with Washington.