Bobby Portis won't call it a revenge game, but Wendell Carter Jr. still says 'I'm not going to have it'

Bobby Portis won't call it a revenge game, but Wendell Carter Jr. still says 'I'm not going to have it'

Bobby Portis made a strong statement against the Bulls on Oct. 28 with 28 points, including 11 in the final seven minutes of a Knicks win.

If Wendell Carter Jr. can back up his words, it won’t happen again.

“We’re not letting that happen,” Carter said on Monday. “Bobby’s going to come on and want to put on a show. I’m not going to have it. I hope he watches this. I ain’t having that.”

Turns out Portis did watch that. Portis talked to reporters Tuesday at the United Center at shootaround and wasn’t getting sucked into a war of words with his former teammate.

“I saw that video,” Portis said with a smile. “It was kind of funny at the same time. But you know that’s my guy. I was with him when he first came into the league last year. We were best of friends. Me, him and Antonio Blakeney, all of us were like a little trio that we all hung out each and every day off the court and all that. I think it’s kind of cool to see his progression this year. He’s been having a monster year, getting double-doubles every game.”

So Portis elected not to take the bait and talk back to Carter. Even Carter admitted the two are still friends after he made his declaration on Monday.

This isn’t turning into a heated personal rivalry by any stretch and Portis wouldn’t call games against the Bulls “revenge games.” That said, he knows exactly how many times he’s faced the Bulls since he was traded away.

Portis played the Bulls three times with the Wizards after being traded in February. The Bulls-Knicks game earlier this season made it four games against the Bulls. He has three double-doubles and is averaging 18.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in those games.

“I don’t look at it as a revenge game,” Portis said. “I look at it as us as a team trying to come in here and just try to steal one on the road. We need it in the worst way.”

As if Portis didn’t get a bit extra attention against his former team as it was, now eyes will be on Carter and Portis to see how they react after talking through the media.

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2020 NBA Draft Lottery going virtual, breaking Chicago's two-year host run

2020 NBA Draft Lottery going virtual, breaking Chicago's two-year host run

It’s felt pre-ordained for months now. Now, it appears it’s decided.

No, the Bulls didn’t draw the seventh pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (yet). But The Athletic’s Shams Charania did report Monday afternoon that the lottery scheduled for Aug. 20 will take place virtually. All 14 teams ‘in attendance’ will be allowed to ‘send’ remote representatives. The event will presumably be televised, but details haven’t emerged on that front yet.

It’s a logical gameplan given the COVID-19 pandemic’s ongoing nature, and the acclaim received by virtual draft showcases broadcast by the WNBA and NFL while live sports in the United States were effectively paused.

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The news also sends a few ripples in Bulls world. For one, who will rep the team, in this, its third consecutive lottery appearance? Michael Reinsdorf and Horace Grant manned the post in 2018 and 2019, respectively. But for this year? Benny the Bull would be sure to bring the energy. On the heels of the summer of “The Last Dance,” perhaps a dynasty-era contributor could get the call. Or maybe a newly-minted front office face instead? Time will tell.

And, as our K.C. Johnson pointed out on Twitter, this development also marks the end of a two-year streak of Chicago hosting the lottery in 2018 and 2019. The city has long housed the combine.

Here’s what Adam Silver told NBC Sports Chicago in February when asked his impressions of Chicago as a host-city for the lottery:

We have been very pleased in Chicago. Our community comes together in Chicago for our predraft camp and combine. It made perfect sense to also conduct the draft lottery there. And that was something that Mayor Emanuel never stopped reminding me of. Things can potentially change over time. We are enjoying being in Chicago. Because of the geographic location, it’s more convenient for our teams to be in a more central location. And Chicago, for the same reasons that makes it a fantastic All-Star host, has all the accommodations you need for our teams when they come together for our combine. My anticipation is we’ll be in Chicago for a while. And the city has been terrific to work with.

Silver made that comment before All-Star weekend in Chicago, but all of the above virtues translated. Though Bulls representation was limited, no one would deny Chicago played a splendid host for the festivities.

The Bulls enter this year’s lottery locked into the seventh-best odds (7.5%) at nabbing the No. 1 pick, and a 32% chance of vaulting into the top four. 

Slots No. 1 through No. 8 in the lottery standings are set with the teams excluded from the NBA’s restart. Slots No. 9 through 14 will populate at the end of the play-in round, when postseason seeding is officially set. Teams that started the restart as a top-eight seed in either conference can fall into the lottery if they miss the playoffs, but the ultimate order of the lottery odds will be decided by pre-hiatus record (meaning, for example, that if the current standings hold and the Phoenix Suns finish with a better record than the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, but miss the postseason, the Suns would own better lottery odds than the Pels and Kings by virtues of each team’s pre-hiatus record).

All of which is to say, clear your calendars for next Thursday. After that, rumor and speculation are sure to swirl until the draft itself, which, as of right now, is reportedly scheduled for Oct. 16. The status of the combine remains up in the air, though ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported July 23 that the league is polling teams on which players should be invited to the combine if one takes place.

For the Bulls, helmed by a new front office regime and facing a moment of reckoning in the current rebuild, this year’s draft process is an especially crucial one.


Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

NBC Sports Chicago is counting down the top 10 Bulls at each position in franchise history.

We've hit the point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. And last, but certainly not least, the men in the middle. The centers.

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Defensive anchors, multi-skilled hubs and blue-collar tenacity abound in these rankings. And plenty of hardware — both of the championship and individual variety.

We hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Without further adieu...

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history