$48 Million Forward & NBA Champion Interested in Joining Lakers: Report

Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Getty Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis

One of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s teammates on the Milwaukee Bucks is interested in joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to Peter Dewey of Lakers Daily, Bobby Portis is interested in joining the Lakers to reunite with Darvin Ham, who was an assistant coach on the Bucks for four years.

“According to a source, Portis is interested in joining the Lakers to reunite with former head coach Darvin Ham,” Dewey wrote. “Ham left the Bucks following the 2021-22 season to take the Lakers coaching job. He helped coach the Bucks during their NBA Finals run in the 2020-21 season with Portis on the roster.”

Portis signed a four-year, $48.6 million contract with the Bucks in July 2022. The Lakers would have to trade for the power forward to get him on their roster since Portis can’t become an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2025.

The Bucks fired Mike Budenholzer as head coach after losing to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs in five games. Milwaukee hired former NBA guard/forward Adrian Griffin to replace Budenholzer, who guided the Bucks to the 2021 championship over the Phoenix Suns in six games.

Bobby Portis Is a Good Player

Portis is a solid player who can score from the paint, mid-range and 3-point land. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists this season for the Bucks while shooting 49.6% from the field, 37.0% from beyond the arc and 76.8% from the free-throw line.

“The Lakers could certainly use a player like Portis up front, as the team was extremely thin behind Anthony Davis after Mo Bamba suffered an ankle injury in the 2022-23 season,” Dewey wrote. “Wenyen Gabriel was the primary big man to play behind Davis for the Lakers in the playoffs.

“The former first-round pick’s ability to stretch the floor would make him extremely valuable to the Lakers for spacing reasons. It would also allow him to play alongside Davis, similarly to how he played with Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.”

Portis has career averages of 11.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists with the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks and Bucks.

Darvin Ham Is Safe

Jovan Buha of The Athletic believes Ham’s job is safe despite the Lakers losing to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals in four games.

“I don’t think Ham’s job was ever in jeopardy this season, even with the 2-10 start and 13th place seeding through late February,” Buha wrote. “Most coaches are afforded at least two years in a new situation. The Lakers are still paying Frank Vogel after firing him after the 2021-22 season. They aren’t the type of franchise to pay three coaches at the same time.

“That said, I think Ham bought himself some security in future seasons with this playoff run. I’d posit that he probably has at least two more seasons, regardless of the results, before the Lakers would consider going in a different direction. For as rough as his rookie coaching season started, Ham went further than many coaches go in their career, let alone in their first season. He had an impressive year.”

The Lakers went 43-39 in the regular season and 8-8 in the postseason.

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