If the Bulls' locker room had to make a choice between Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic, the team would send Mirotic packing, according to a report from the Chicago Sun Times' Joe Cowley.
Portis punched Mirotic in the face during a dispute at practice before the season, a blow that broke two bones in Mirotic's face and gave him a concussion. Mirotic has not played as he recovers from the injury, while Portis returned from an eight-game suspension on Tuesday night with a 21-point, 13-rebound performance in the Bulls' 119-114 loss to the Raptors.
On Oct. 27, reports surfaced that Mirotic had communicated to the front office that he would rather be traded than be teammates with Portis, a 22-year old who was the Bulls' first-round pick in 2015. If Cowley's report is to be believed, that request could result could backfire.
From the report, which is pretty damning for Mirotic:
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. Choosing Mirotic over Portis would completely disrupt a chemistry that has been building since the front office made the decision to rebuild by trading Jimmy Butler in June.
Cowley reports that Portis tried to reach out to Mirotic via text and a message but did not receive a response and that Bulls players think Mirotic came into training camp with a sense of "entitlement."
Before his return, Portis was asked whether he had spoken to Mirotic since the incident.
"No, I haven't talked to Niko," Portis said, per ESPN. "I just let bygones be bygones with that. I can't control that. Only thing I can control is myself at this point."