NBA players often have to deal with the question of having surgery or not, usually on a knee or ankle or back. While there are plenty of injuries where the course of treatment is clear cut, there are times when it’s a matter of personal or organizational preference.
Rarely does that choice extend to facial fractures, but it did for Nikola Mirotic — who suffered a facial fracture after a punch in practice from teammate Bobby Portis — and he decided not to have surgery, John Paxson told WBBM Newsradio’s George Ofman.
Mirotic has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol but is a long way from returning to the court.
Bobby Portis, who was given an eight-game suspension by the team, can return Nov. 8 against Toronto.
Mirotic has said he is open to a trade, and it would be a challenging locker room for the Bulls to have both Portis and Mirotic in it when the European returns down the line. The Bulls do not have an easy call here, as Vincent Goodwill laid out at NBC Sports Chicago.
Mirotic has a no-trade clause but is willing to waive it in order to leave Chicago — or more directly the specter of having to be in the same locker room as Portis. With the situation being so public, it’s hard to see the Bulls rushing to make a deal involving either player, even with the rise of rookie Lauri Markkanen lessening the necessity for both.
It’s harder to see a team offering an asset to the Bulls’ liking and opposing teams are doing background work on Portis to see what he’s like in the locker room, sources tell NBCSportsChicago.com.
Although the Bulls would like this to be wrapped up in a neat bow, there’s no smooth transition and any solution will be messy.
Nikola Mirotic‘s reported desire for the Bulls trade him or Bobby Portis, who hospitalized his teammate with a practice punch, might not be just about bitterness toward Portis.
Mirotic seemingly resents the response of the Bulls, who laid blame on both players and suspended Bobby Portis eight games.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Between the organization making public its view that Mirotic acted as an aggressor leading up to Portis’ inexcusable act, plus the fact Portis is being allowed to practice during the suspension, there’s dissatisfaction within the Mirotic camp that his plight is being understood, sources said.
Keeping Portis from practice would only hurt the Bulls and him. It might placate Mirotic, who understandably could want Portis banished. But as long Mirotic still isn’t around as he recovers and Portis’ other teammates don’t have a problem with him, Portis should practice.
Were the Bulls correct to characterize Mirotic as an aggressor? No idea. Only those who saw the incident can say, and if other Bulls aren’t distraught about Portis practicing, that’s an indicator he’s not solely to blame.
But Mirotic’s perception matters, too. And if he’s unhappy with how Chicago is handling this, a complex situation becomes even more difficult to manage.
Nikola Mirotic would allow a trade from the Bulls after teammate Bobby Portis punched and hospitalized him, but that doesn’t go far enough to explain the situation.
Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:
Mirotic prefers a trade out of Chicago—which won’t be available to the Bulls until mid-January at the earliest because he was a free agent this summer—and is willing to waive his no-trade clause to do so, sources tell NBCSportsChicago.com.
It’s been described by one source as “one of them has to go” and the Bulls are aware of the tenuous situation.
Mirotic can veto any trade including him as a result of the contract he signed last offseason, because he’s technically on a one-year contract that would give him Bird Rights when it expires. The two-year, $25 million deal is technically a one-year deal until
Mirotic decides on his player option his team option is decided for next season. He also can’t be traded at all until Jan. 15 as a result of having just signed for such a big raise. It’s unclear when he’ll be healthy enough to return to the team.
Portis is four games into his team-issued eight-game suspension and will have sat only five before his team must decide on a $2,494,346 option for next season by Tuesday. If Chicago is trading him, his next team will probably want to decide for itself on that option. But what happens to Portis’ suspension if he’s traded to a team that didn’t issue it before it ends? If he stays with the Bulls, Portis will complete his suspension Nov. 4.
There’s no easy way to handle this – especially because both players have seen their value plummet. Mirotic peaked as a rookie and is now fairly highly paid. Portis showed plenty of verve before getting regular playing time then very little since. And he just hospitalized a teammate with a punch.
Thankfully for the Bulls, at least rookie Lauri Markkanen has shown plenty of promise while starting with these other two power forwards out. That’ll soften the blow if the Bulls have to trade Mirotic or Portis for pennies on the dollar.
Can you blame Nikola Mirotic if he was willing to get out of Chicago?
Mirotic is still in the concussion protocol, then once that’s complete he can have surgery to repair his face where Bobby Portis punched him during practice. From Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago.
The Bulls’ locker room is pretty toxic, and so it shouldn’t be a shock that if the Bulls can find a deal for him, Mirotic is open to it. From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bulls and Mirotic agreed to a two-year, $27 million contract just before the start of training camp, and as part of that Mirotic has veto power over any trade this season.
Whether the Bulls would be open to moving the guy who is probably their best scorer (when healthy) is another question. Chicago is rebuilding, so maybe if a team coveted Mirotic they could throw in a pick the Bulls would want. However, my guess is the Bulls are not looking to move on from this relationship.
Even if Mirotic is open to it.
As if this season wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Chicago Bulls, it started off on the wrong foot when Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during practice. That fight resulted in a facial fracture for Mirotic, putting one of Chicago’s best players out for multiple weeks.
Portis addressed the issue this week by apologizing to fans, the team, and Mirotic. However, Portis said that he has not heard from Mirotic since the fight, and that he did not respond when he tried to call his teammate.
Video of Portis’ apology is interesting if only because it’s a bit hard to discern the level of sincerity.
Chicago is 0-2 on the season. Portis is in the middle of serving an 8 game suspension for the incident.