By Richard Kagan
The continuing saga of the Niko Mirotic-Bobby Portis situation is not completely known nor is a final solution imminent. Portis has apologized in a press conference to the fracas which has sidelined Mirotic for a month. He has been spotted in the Bulls’ weight room where the Bulls practice except he is avoiding the team and Porter by being there off-hours.
This is proved to be a sticky situation. Mirotic apparently does not want to spend time in the same locker as Porter according to reports coming out of Chicago. Does he want to remain on the team? Apparently not. And, the Bulls can’t trade him until January 15th.
So, in two or three weeks, Mirotic may be able to play. The question will he play? John Paxon of the front office has been pushing him to be more visible and to carry out his professional responsibilities. That would mean, if he can play, then he’s back on the roster. Except Niko and Bobby have not made up and Mirotic is not making any moves to repair this broken relationship.
“When he started to get healthy, because he’s on our roster, it’s incumbent on him to be around when the team’s around. That’s just a part of it,” Paxson said. “I look at it this way: We want him to start coming around more. And it is on him to do that.”
Said Paxson of the silence between Mirotic and Portis: “They are adults. This is our workplace. They’re both part of the team. I think it’s pretty simple.”
The Bulls are becoming frustrated and exasperated by this.
Portis has played in three games and he had double-doubles in two of them. Against the San Antonio Spurs, he scored 17 points. The Bulls lost by 39 in that game. If ever there was a mis-match, that was it.
Mirotic signed a two-year deal before the season started and the Bulls were hoping he could provide outside scoring. He has a very good shot. He was one of the best players in Europe not long ago. The Bulls know he has talent. The question is can he and Portis amicably resolve their differences, or will the Bulls seek a trade for one of them? It is a thorny issue and no one knows the outcome, yet.