Report: Nikola Mirotic wants Bulls to trade him or Bobby Portis

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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.