Storyline: Mirotic-Portis Altercation

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Nikola Mirotic on the Bobby Portis incident: “Not even in your worst nightmares you expect that to happen, much less with a teammate in practice. It’s not the time to go into detail and talk about it. It was a tough time because I had given up on the National Team, I had put in the work in the summer, because I was going to be in the starting lineup and felt this was going to be my year. I knew because I felt ready… Not being able to start the season and lose your spot over something like that was very hard. It took time for me to understand and be positive, but I have proved nothing can break me.”
2 months ago via ESPN

Mirotic, who is averaging career highs of 18.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season, knows that his and Portis’ ability to coexist again has been a catalyst for the group. “I think it was huge,” Mirotic told ESPN on Wednesday night. “I think it was huge because people didn’t know how we were going to act because it was a tough moment obviously for all of us, especially for me. But I think [up to now] we’ve handled it well. We’ve tried to be professional. That was really important for the guys because we kind of tried to stick together. And being back was a great [thing] for me, for my teammates. Right now we are all looking forward for Zach [LaVine] to be back, and we could be complete again. I think we’re going to be in really good shape.”

So when Portis and Mirotic work the spread game to rare perfection, it’s second nature to slap five on the way back downcourt. Mirotic rolling hard to the basket freed up Portis for one of his three triples. Portis sealing off his man led to the Celtics overhelping, leading to a Mirotic jumper. “Bobby and I, we’re playing good,” Mirotic said. “We are finding each other during the game, and we are bringing the energy the team needs.” “When we’re both on the court, it seems the team is playing really well. We need to give that credit to Fred because Fred is the one making us play. He’s the guy calling the plays and putting us in the right spot to play.
3 months ago via ESPN

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.”

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.

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.
4 months ago via ESPN

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.

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.”

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.”
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February 17, 2018 | 10:10 pm EST Update