Although the Bulls are two months into the 2017-18 NBA season, there’s one moment that constantly hangs over this franchise (not the Jimmy Butler trade) — the October practice fight between Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis that put Mirotic in the hospital and earned Portis an eight-game suspension. This unfortunate occurrence continues to rear its ugly head in the Bulls locker room. It reached another peak last week when Mirotic returned to full practices for the first time since the injury. When the native of Montenegro spoke to the media for the first time, he said that he finally accepted the apology that Portis had been trying to make to him since the incident happened. However, there is doubt about the sincerity of that acceptance. The 26-year-old also stated that he hopes to be the starting power forward again sooner rather than later, something that was set in stone before Portis punched him in the face. So now with both men back on the roster at the same time here’s the situation: the relationship between Portis and Mirotic at this point is icy at best, while rookie Lauri Markkanen has adapted to the NBA for the most part. This creates three questions that need to be answered... Can head coach Fred Hoiberg find playing time for all three power forwards? Will Portis and Mirotic truly make up and support Markkanen’s ascension while watching from the bench most nights? And considering the potential egos involved, can all three co-exist? While the definite answers to those questions will be answered over time, here’s what we know now. Mirotic has yet to play a game this season in order to make his case to be the starter once again. He’s spent the last week getting his conditioning and timing back, but the hope is that he’ll his make his season debut on Friday night against the Hornets.
Nikola Mirotic's return forces Bulls to answer tough questions
Sporting News | Dec 8