Rumor: Bulls siding with Bobby Portis over Nikola Mirotic

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Nikola Mirotic essentially told the Bulls to choose between him and Bobby Portis, who punched Mirotic to the face and caused an injury that still has Mirotic sidelined.

Well, Mirotic’s teammates are choosing.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

According to at least two Bulls players, the ultimatum issued by Nikola Mirotic and his camp that either he or Bobby Portis has to go is carrying zero weight. If anything, it has further entrenched Portis with his teammates with one telling the Sun-Times, “This is Niko’s problem now.’’

Portis tried to reach out to Mirotic via text and in a message, but received no response. That’s why in talking to Bulls players it’s becoming obvious that Mirotic has to go.

The feeling is Portis has done his part to repair things, and the reality of the situation is Portis is looked at by teammates as a guy that has put in all the work this summer, is a better teammate, and is just more liked.

It probably didn’t hurt that Portis had 21 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in his first game back from a team-issued eight-game suspension. That likely didn’t directly swing support directly toward Portis – though it might have – but it could have empowered teammates in his corner to speak out.

Chicago has much more invested in Mirotic than Portis. But if Portis is playing well, that could affect the team’s plan.

Mirotic has grumbled while away from the team and, per Portis, not returned Portis’ call or text. Meanwhile, Portis plays with confidence and energy that endear him to teammates. And he’s around everyone while Mirotic rehabs on his own.

Yes, Portis punched Mirotic, but the Bulls laid blame for the practice incident on both players. No matter where fault precisely belongs, the end result won’t necessarily be “fair.”