KC Johnson: Robin Lopez on Niko-Bobby not affecting team: “It’s a very difficult situation, obviously. I didn’t pick up on any awkwardness. I think guys are coming in there focused on basketball. They’re focused on helping the team out as much as possible.”
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Robin Lopez says he has spoken to Niko Mirotic and knows that his teammate wants “to be back with the guys,” but Mirotic and Portis have yet to speak. Lopez says he has not been asked to facilitate a conversation between the two of them. “I’ve talked to Niko a few times,” Lopez said before Tuesday’s practice. “I went out to dinner with him and Cris [Felicio], but I’m not going to divulge anything about [those conversations]. He told me that stuff in confidence.”
KC Johnson: Pax: “Both Niko and Bobby are on our roster right now. And Niko’s getting cleared to do more and more. This obviously is coming to a position where it’s going to have to be resolved between the two.” Reminder: Mirotic can’t be traded until Jan. 15.
KC Johnson: Isn’t it weird that Portis and Mirotic are in gym together and not talking? Pax: “They are adults. This is our workplace. They’re both part of the team. I think it’s pretty simple.” Translated: Bulls have been accommodating but both players under contract. They need to meet soon.
KC Johnson: Bulls initially said Mirotic would miss 4-6 weeks. Tomorrow is 4 weeks. Pax: “The timeline for him getting back is all how he’s feeling and recovering from what he went through. He obviously has to get his conditioning up to a level that he needs to. That’s all a process.”
Vincent Goodwill: Nikola Mirotic is in the building. John Paxson said Niko hasn’t had contact with Bobby Portis, won’t say if the trade request has been rescinded
KC Johnson: Bulls exec VP John Paxson said Mirotic still hasn’t had contact with Portis.
KC Johnson: Bobby Portis said he won’t try to approach Mirotic. “I’m a high character, low maintenance guy. If he approaches me, I’ll welcome him with open arms.”
According to several players, the ultimatum issued by Nikola Mirotic — either Bobby Portis goes or he goes — carries no weight. If anything, it has solidified Portis’ standing with his teammates. One Bull even said, “This is Niko’s problem now.’’
Portis tried to reach out to Mirotic via text and in a message but received no response. That’s why players say it’s obvious that Mirotic, 26, has to go. The feeling is Portis has done his part to repair things, and he’s seen as someone who has put in all the work this summer and is a better teammate. Plus, he’s just more liked by his teammates. Choosing Mirotic over Portis would disrupt a chemistry that has been building since the front office made the decision to rebuild by trading Jimmy Butler in June.
Darnell Mayberry: Portis on Mirotic’s reported ultimatum: “I’m here to play basketball. I can’t control who goes. He goes, I go, I can’t control that.” #Bulls
Darnell Mayberry: Portis on Mirotic: “I want to rekindle our relationship, try as best as possible, but I don’t control that right now.” #Bulls #BullsNation
Nick Friedell: Bobby Portis says he still hasn’t spoken to Niko Mirotic.
Meanwhile, though he is free of his concussion symptoms, Nikola Mirotic remains weeks away from returning from the two facial fractures that Bobby Portis caused with a punch to the face during an Oct. 17 altercation between the forwards in practice. Mirotic remains upset enough over the disparity in time of absences that he has had little contact with teammates, and his camp has made clear to management that, for now, it doesn’t see a way the two forwards can coexist.
Bobby Portis is back! Well, soon perhaps. And his teammates are excited. “One hundred percent welcome,” said Justin Holiday. “Bobby’s important to this team; just as well as Niko is. We’re excited. Those are our brothers and when they come back we’re excited to have them back and help this team; with them we are better. Of course, we are excited about Bobby coming back; he knows that. I think he’s going to be ready to come in and play.
“That’s exciting,” Robin Lopez said about Portis’ return. “We’ve been playing with such great energy and Bobby is the epitome of that. I think he’s handled it as well as he could have. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen with the rotations going forward, but I know he’s mentally prepared for that; and we’re excited to have him back.”
Hoiberg says Mirotic hasn’t done any on court work, but was able to do some rehab work in the pool recently. Hoiberg says Mirotic is in good spirits — it remains to be seen when he will work out with all his teammates again.
Mirotic has yet to change his stance on not wanting to play with Bobby Portis after Portis punched him in the face during an Oct. 17 practice altercation. That gave Mirotic a concussion, two facial fractures and a recovery period of up to two months.
Hoiberg wouldn’t answer whether he thinks, based on his conversations with Mirotic that included a phone call Friday, that he’s still upset with Portis. “It’s something we’re going to take it day-by-day,” Hoiberg said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see him (Saturday) and go from there. I know he’s going to continue to come in and get his treatment.”
It’s been described by one source as “one of them has to go” and the Bulls are aware of the tenuous situation. Mirotic agreed to a two-year contract with the Bulls on the eve of training camp, with the second year being a team option.
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.
Andre Iguodala: “Provided Bobby Portis doesn’t get to him”… and changes channel...
Nick Friedell: Noteworthy that Hoiberg and players all seem unsure if Portis/Mirotic can coexist moving forward. Nobody has clear cut answer after fight.
KC Johnson: Hoiberg is talking to both Mirotic and Portis but isn’t trying to be bridge. Said they have to work it out on their own. Will support both.
KC Johnson: Portis:”I’m wrong for what I did. I want to publicly apologize to Niko. I feel I let my fans, the Bulls organization and my teammates down”
KC Johnson: Portis: “I want to make sure me and Niko are cool. I’m pretty sure we can move past this.”
KC Johnson: Portis on Niko talk: “It hasn’t been arranged but I’m pretty sure it will be a gentle conversation. And I’m pretty sure we can get past it.”
Vincent Goodwill: Portis: “Yes I can co-exist with Niko.” Said he called Mirotic, sent texts, no response
KC Johnson: Bobby Portis apologized. Said he has texted Mirotic but got no response. Wouldn’t get into whether Mirotic was an aggressor.
KC Johnson: As of now, Bobby Portis is scheduled to address reporters pregame.
KC Johnson: Pau Gasol on former teammates’ Mirotic-Portis fight: “Both guys are competitive. Both guys want minutes. But that’s not the way to do it.”
Darnell Mayberry: Bobby Portis practiced today, as expected. But he will not speak to media today. He’s expected to address the media in the coming days.
KC Johnson: Justin Holiday: Bobby came in, worked hard like he always does. I reached out to Niko too. Make sure he knows he’s supported.
Fred Hoiberg says he has texted with Niko Mirotic. He says Mirotic is still sore after sustaining injuries in fight with Portis. It remains unclear when Mirotic will be able to return to practice.
Vincent Goodwill: Paxson: I wouldn’t call it a sucker punch, no
Bobby Marks: The team suspension of Bobby Portis Jr. has different ramifications with regards to the Bulls roster. Portis Jr. will be moved from the active/inactive list to the suspended list after the Bulls third game, October 24 at Cleveland. A suspension by the NBA would have resulted in Portis Jr. remaining on the active/inactive list for 5 games and moving to suspended list after the Oklahoma City game on October 28. The Bulls can sign a player while Portis Jr. is on the suspended list.
KC Johnson: Bulls suspend Portis 8 games.
KC Johnson: Bulls say Portis can practice during suspension.
Josh Lewenberg: Dwane Casey on player fights when he was an assistant in Seattle… So, Gary Payton and…? “We had some doozies in Seattle, I’ll tell you what, some fisticuffs. One that started on the court and went in the weight room and went outside, come back in. It was a long one. I’ve seen those. The good thing about that, the people that were involved in that were able to come back together and bond back together, which is the hard part. You can’t let what happened yesterday come into tomorrow or next week or next month or hold it inside. That’s the trick and luckily in Seattle we had some of those but guys were able to get back together and maintain the team chemistry.”
KC Johnson: Bulls say exec VP John Paxson will address reporters, then Fred Hoiberg & Robin Lopez. Portis not at practice facility. Suspension imminent.
KC Johnson: But internal view is incident involved blame on both sides. Situation escalated over several possessions during scrimmage. 2/2
KC Johnson: As reported yesterday, Portis will be suspended after Bulls conclude standard policy of communication with league office. What factor this plays in suspension is unknown & obviously can’t throw punch. But Portis widely regarded for work ethic, commitment to team.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago’s Bobby Portis has call set with NBA in New York today to discuss punch thrown at teammate Nikola Mirotic, league sources tell ESPN.
Peter Vecsey: Contrary to counterfeit reports by ESPN and Yahoo, Bobby Portis did not “cheap shot” Nikola Mirotic at Bulls’ practice this afternoon, a source attests. Nonetheless, there is no denying it was a damaging one-punch knockdown. The Montenegro forward was taken to the hospital with a concussion and facial fractures that will require surgery, and is out indefinitely. Mirotic initiated the skirmish. “He was the aggressor, not Portis,” I am informed. “Mirotic shoved Portis twice, maybe three times. When Portis retaliated with a hard shove, Mirotic charged him. Portis put him down.”
A source who spoke to Mirotic after he was released from the hospital said the forward suffered two fractures and placed an early estimate for his absence at “a few weeks, at least.” He possibly will have to wear a mask upon that return.
In their statement, the Bulls said they are “evaluating disciplinary action.” But a source said the team is merely following protocol for all such incidents by communicating with the league office and that Portis will be suspended for multiple games.
According to several witnesses, tensions heightened between Portis and Mirotic during a competitive scrimmage. Several words were exchanged over trips up and down the court. Some shoving escalated matters and Mirotic once moved in Portis’ direction. And then Portis landed the lone punch, which placed Mirotic on the ground for several minutes before his hospital trip.
Vincent Goodwill: Mirotic does have a concussion and broken bones in his face. Expect Bobby Portis’ suspension to be significant
Mike McGraw: #Bulls confirm Portis-Mirotic altercation at today’s practice; said Mirotic suffered concussion and maxillary fractures, out indefinitely.
Jeff Zillgitt: Re: Mirotic-Portis altercation, it was two guys fighting for position that turned into altercation, I’m told.
Vincent Goodwill: This has been three years in the making, a source said. Mirotic has broken bones in his face, apparently instigated, and Portis punched him
Darnell Mayberry: Mirotic is out indefinitely…Bulls are evaluating disciplinary action. Suspension for Ports likely. Hearing league office is now involved.
KC Johnson: Mirotic is home after going to hospital. He has 2 broken bones in his face and was evaluated for concussion, per source. Punched by Portis.
KC Johnson: Early estimate on Mirotic absence: “A few weeks,” source said.
Vincent Goodwill: Apparently there was some pushing and shoving and Mirotic was punched by Portis. Mirotic is being evaluated for a concussion
Shams Charania: Sources: Bulls forwards Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic were involved in serious altercation in practice today, leaving Mirotic hospitalized and out indefinitely. Story coming.
Mirotic was taken to the hospital Tuesday after their shoving altercation during practice ended with an alleged cheap shot from Portis to Mirotic’s face, league sources told The Vertical. Mirotic is undergoing tests, but is expected to be out for the foreseeable future, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: In practice scuffle with Bobby Portis in Bulls practice, Nikola Mirotic suffered a fractured bone in his face, league source tells ESPN.
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November 20, 2017 | 10:03 pm EST Update
Cousins caught a rebound midway through the third quarter and had his right elbow connect with the head of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, resulting in Westbrook going to the floor.
During the fourth quarter of the 76ers’ game against the Utah Jazz, Embiid blocked a layup attempt from Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. Embiid proceeded to give the Utah guard a mean staredown, hoping that Mitchell would respond. And Mitchell would. He took the bait.
November 20, 2017 | 8:56 pm EST Update
The Lakers are keeping tabs on free agent Mindaugas Kuzminskas. According to sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking, the Lakers, in need of perimeter shooting, are doing their due diligence and met with the forward recently while they evaluate their wing depth.
Darnell Mayberry: LaVine said he doesn’t have a specific date in mind for when he’d like to play. “When I’m out here playing the way I should be in practice, I’ll be able to go out there and do what I need to do on the court.” #Bulls #BullsNation