Monday 20th November 2017,
The Hoop Doctors

Nikola Mirotic Is Hanging Around Chicago Bulls, But He and Bobby Portis Still Aren’t Talking

Nikola Mirotic Is Hanging Around Chicago Bulls, But He and Bobby Portis Still Aren’t Talking

Nikola Mirotic is back with the Chicago Bulls in some capacity. But that doesn’t mean he’s buried the hatchet with Bobby Portis.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune brought word on Monday that Mirotic, who suffered facial fractures and a concussion after a physical altercation with Portis, is back hanging around with the team:

Don’t take this to mean everything around these parts is totally cool. It’s not. Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson noted the two still aren’t talking:

Awkward much.

Apparently not, according to Paxson:

Something needs to give here. But it won’t be Portis, who has decided to let Mirotic come to him:

What a weird thing to say, as the person who, you know, broke Mirotic’s face. Though, to Portis’ credit, he has (probably) tried on multiple occasions to make nice with Mirotic, only to have his olive branches snapped in half, as the 26-year-old forward is unhappy his in-house rival has returned to the Bulls before him.

This whole situation feels like it’ll force Chicago into a trade at some point. And it will probably be Mirotic who is on the move, since Portis is younger and still on his rookie-scale deal and just better suited to be part of the rebuilding Bulls’ timeline. The problem: Mirotic, after signing his two-year deal over the offseason, cannot be traded until Jan. 15. So even if the Bulls wanted to, they cannot move him now.

The only play everyone has is to go about business as usual for the time being. The Bulls cannot keep Mirotic away from the team, because that won’t do anything for his trade value. If he can get back and show something before his trade restriction expires, they’ll have an easier time of brokering a meaningful return. Plus, while having him around is awkward, it could restore a sense of normal. Who knows, maybe Mirotic and Portis work through their beef and the Bulls will no longer find themselves in a position of weakness. It might not happen; Mirotic’s rage and resentment might have reached the point of no return. But the Bulls have nothing other than time to kill, so it behooves them to see whether this thing can work itself out.

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