Storyline: Nikola Mirotic Injury

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“It’s great having [Nikola Mirotic] back on the floor,” agreed Hoiberg. “Just looking at where we are right now, getting Zach back with full contact and David is going to try to do a little bit in practice and then getting Niko back on the floor with us is a very important step. As far as what he can provide on the floor, he’s had some really good moments in this league and given us some great production. Getting him back out here is certainly a step in the right direction. The plan is for him to do some contact and see how he responds and then put a plan together from there.”

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.

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.”
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March 24, 2019 | 11:05 am EDT Update
Murray State star Ja Morant will wait to make an announcement on whether he plans to enter the NBA draft after his team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament Saturday. “That time will come,” Morant said. “My focus is not on that right now. It’s just celebrating this — what a great season we had — with my teammates.” Morant is widely projected to be a top-three pick in this year’s draft, should he choose to forgo his final two years of college eligibility.
54 mins ago via ESPN
Storyline: Ja Morant Going Pro?
According to multiple sources, some high profile international candidates are being or have been considered. David Blatt, an American who coached the Russian national team as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers, was first choice but may have pulled out due to back problems. Former Italian national team head coach and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina is also being interviewed. A complicating factor? Financial challenges at Canada Basketball mean that the money being offered for the role is minimal or perhaps not even more than an honorarium covering expenses.
Meanwhile, a number of Canadian coaches are not impressed that Triano has been put in a situation where he has to effectively re-apply for his own job. “I know he was under the impression last summer that he was the head coach and hadn’t heard anything differently until recently,” said one source. “The way this has played out is disrespectful. He’s either your coach or he’s not.”
March 24, 2019 | 7:25 am EDT Update

Bulls keeping Robin Lopez?

Players, coaches and management all have insisted on how important center Robin Lopez has been to the rebuild, so much so that the Bulls didn’t want to buy him out the last month for the stretch run. With Lopez facing free agency this summer, and staring at a backup role with the Bulls if he does return, what are the chances that the mutual admiration brings him back? “Robin has been terrific for us,’’ Paxson said. “We’ll keep an open mind on that, absolutely.’’
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