Bobby Portis returned after his 8-game suspension for teammate-face-breaking and had a very productive game, leading a desperation push in the 4th quarter when the team was already down twenty for most of the preceding two periods.
But I have to admit the coverage in the telecast of his return still irked me, as it did Will Gottlieb of The Athletic:
"put it behind you, it's over and done with." Actually it's not because Niko can't play because his face is still broken— Will Gottlieb (@wontgottlieb) November 8, 2017
This was somewhat expected, as the television coverage is run by the team itself, just like their website ( I couldn’t stomach reading the whole article, but the lede was a foreboding start) which treated Portis’s returning like he was the victim of circumstance.
And then Portis after the game spoke like a victim:
"I got my dream took away from me for three weeks. I don't want to get my dream [taken] away from me anymore."
This attitude isn’t totally surprising, as Portis is just following the lead of the team. A pretty paltry suspension given the damage, which was communicated further with making Nikola Mirotic a fellow agitator in this ‘altercation’.
As for Mirotic, though Portis said he had no intent on reaching out and instead “just let bygones be bygones with that”, Mirotic himself is somehow not over getting his year ruined.
Mirotic remains upset enough over the disparity in time of absences that he has had little contact with teammates, and his camp has made clear to management that, for now, it doesn’t see a way the two forwards can coexist.
That’s from KC Johnson of the Tribune, who is framing the Bulls as victims here too in having to deal with this ‘tough situation’ (again, as if it is independent of the franchise somehow). The Bulls are “trying to support both players”, but it’s not really possible here, is it? Supporting Portis is inherently not supporting Mirotic.
Portis was praised after the game by Fred Hoiberg for his ‘emotion’, ‘effort’, ‘confidence’, whatever else the Bulls like to substitute for ‘good play’ in this new path of theirs. And Portis provided good play too! But this all calls back to this widely-reported perverse attitude of Bulls culture where they value ‘working out in our building’ as paramount. So not only Portis, but several other Bulls young players felt slighted Niko didn’t scrimmage with them (even though he wasn’t under contract, you dopes), and that has led to the ease of them in welcoming Portis back.
Glad those guys over it, with Portis and the organization looking that way too. It’s personally a bit icky, but for them it’s honestly all you can ask after the treatment of Mirotic in the immediate wake of the assault. That initial response has meant Mirotic is now a sunk cost. And a much more expensive cost and older than Bobby Portis. So Mirotic will be the one to go, likely for extremely little. A once-vaunted Bulls scouting success out with a wimper, and pushing shiny new toy Lauri Markkanen at the same position and ‘hard working’ Bobby Portis as an immediate replacement, distracting until the next screw-up.