Could the fallout from the Bobby Portis-Nikola Mirotic dustup push one of them out of a Chicago Bulls uniform?
Mirotic will miss four to six weeks after suffering a concussion and facial fractures following a scuffle with Portis that ended with him being punched in the face. A few days ago, Portis publicly apologized, but also admitted that he and Mirotic haven’t spoken yet:
Bobby Portis addresses his suspension pic.twitter.com/DFr547ITIY
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 21, 2017
Cue the rumor mill—from both sides of the fence.
According to the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson, Mirotic has reiterated a desire to remain in Chicago, but others believe he could seek out an exit strategy:
Throughout last season and a free agency that lasted all summer, Nikola Mirotic always maintained his desire to remain with the Bulls.
That same stance has again been communicated by Mirotic’s camp to management even after Bobby Portis’ punch broke two bones in Mirotic’s face and caused a concussion last week.
But there’s a growing sense that Mirotic would find returning to a locker room with Portis difficult. In an odd way, the severity of Mirotic’s injuries could help assuage the delicate and fluid situation merely by the passage of time. Emotions remain raw for now.
Portis would be the easier one, logistically, to move if it comes to that. Mirotic has an inherent no-trade clause built into the two-year deal he signed with the Bulls over the summer. Chicago would likely have to take a bath in any trade thanks to his injury and ability to veto destinations that don’t intrigue him.
As Johnson notes, though, Mirotic’s protracted absence could end up helping the situation. He’ll have time to cool off, and if Portis remains apologetic upon his return, the two might be able to move beyond a beef that’s apparently been brewing for a while.