Prior to Chicago’s Saturday night game against San Antonio, Bobby Portis briefly addressed the media of his fight with teammate Nikola Mirotic, occurring just before Opening Night. For those who are unaware, the two reportedly got into a heated argument during practice when Portis threw a punch at Mirotic before the fight was broken up. Less than a month after signing a two-year, $27 million contract with the Bulls, Mirotic was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion and maxillary fractures in his face. As his injuries require Mirotic to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks, the team announced an eight-game suspension for Portis less than 24 hours after the altercation.
Portis publicly apologized to Mirotic, the organization, his teammates, and fans, dismissing the incident as an indictment of his character.
“I was surprised by my own reaction because that’s not who I am. I’m a competitor,” he said Saturday afternoon. “But I never meant to hurt my own teammate. You know, I got suspended and it’s my fault. I take it as a man. I’m just trying to repair my relationship with everybody.”
Bobby Portis addresses his suspension pic.twitter.com/DFr547ITIY
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 21, 2017
A team that was already expected to enter the season a depleted squad is now without three starters and forced to depend heavily on rookie Lauri Markkanen. For the foreseeable future, the Bulls with trot out a starting lineup of Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday, Lauri Markkanen, Paul Zipser, and Robin Lopez. This could be good or bad, depending on how bad you want the Bulls to throw the season away.
Other than the obvious Nikola Mirotic, the real loser in all of this has to be head coach Fred Hoiberg, who signed up for this coaching gig way back when the Bulls had an identity. He has yet to successfully run his acclaimed offensive system, affectionately nicked-named “Hoi-ball,” and his teams consistently come up short year after year. This year, he will likely receive the Brett Brown-esque benefit of the doubt by avoiding the coaching hot seat due to his terrible squad. GarPax are also still very much reluctant to acknowledge they may have made a mistake in hiring him so there’s no telling when their love affair will reach an end.
If there is any silver lining in this, it would be Markkanen’s increased playing time and development as a rookie. He registered 13 points and 12 rebounds against the Spurs and earned the praises of Coach Popovich.
“He’s aggressive. He’s smart. Obviously he can shoot the basketball. He’s just going to get better and better as he figures things out.”
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