After trading Jimmy Butler, waiving Rajon Rondo, and buying out Dwyane Wade, the Bulls appeared set to lay low this season, embarking on a full-fledged rebuild with virtually no pressure to win games in 2017/18. However, the franchise, plagued by on-court and off-court drama in recent years, couldn’t even make it to opening night without creating headlines again. In this case, it was Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic at the center of the latest story out of Chicago. A tense scrimmage led to shoving between the two power forwards, which escalated to Portis throwing a punch that landed Mirotic in the hospital — he sustained a concussion and facial fractures. The altercation resulted in an eight-game suspension for Portis, and Mirotic is expected to miss upwards of six weeks while he recovers from his injuries. But the saga didn’t end there. Unsurprisingly, despite a token apology from Portis, there’s still tension between the two players. A report on Friday indicated that Mirotic, who has the ability to veto trades, may be willing to approve a deal out of Chicago, with one source suggesting that the situation may result in a “me or him” ultimatum. The latest breakdown on the situation from BlogABull.com does a good job laying out why Mirotic may not be thrilled by the idea of remaining in Chicago. The Bulls didn’t exactly come down hard on Portis for punching a teammate, letting him continue to practice with the club during his relatively light suspension. Additionally, Mirotic had barely been discharged from the hospital when the Bulls’ front office and coaches began insisting there was plenty of blame to go around, suggesting that Mirotic was at fault for escalating the altercation that left him with multiple broken bones in his face. It’s possible that’s true — only a handful of people saw it happen, so the rest of us have to take their word for it. But it certainly sounds like the Bulls are pushing a narrative that avoids vilifying Portis, the player whose “work ethic and commitment” they clearly prefer.
What’s Next For Mirotic, Portis, Bulls?
Hoops Rumors | Oct 27