Nikola Mirotic will keep it professional with Portis but that's it

Nikola Mirotic will keep it professional with Portis but that's it

"The only thing I can tell you is that I've been playing this game nine years professionally", Mirotic said. "Obviously, I'm going to give him [fist bumps], like he would give me [fist bumps] too".

"I'm used to up and down", Mirotic said. No one's asking these two Bulls bigs to be Butch & Sundance, just so long as they're not Mayweather-McGregor.

Portis and Mirotic had no verbal interaction during the Tuesday loss to the Suns, but Mirotic did give him a fist-pump coming off the floor during a timeout.

The Chicago Bulls are struggling mightily, to the point where many believe they are the worst team in the National Basketball Association at the moment.

Mirotic made it very clear that he would not talk about the incident, but didn't exactly back off the idea that there was an ultimatum still lingering out there. The skirmish and the severity of Mirotic's injuries flushed the Bulls and their intentionally uncompetitive intentions into the bright lights. Now it's all about a team's ability to harbor players who don't get along.

Hoiberg said that team will hold their practices at the Advocate Center in a busy stretch of games for the Bulls.

"Brook Lopez", he said, mentioning his twin brother, now in the employ of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It finally did, as witnesses said that Mirotic stepped toward Portis in an aggressive manner and Portis punched him.

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Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg shed positive light on both players but, despite throwing cold water on the pure speed of LaVine's return, he said the following about the guard most believe will be Chicago's offensive focal point in a few weeks.

"He's been in really good spirits". He's been ruled out of game action through Friday, and Hoiberg added it's too early to tell if he'll be ready to play next week as he works on his conditioning. He's been good with the guys.

"I just know that right now the only goal - Bulls goal and my goal - is to make me get back with the team and practice together and get my strength back and as soon as I can, play with the team, " Mirotic said.

There is a question of minutes.

Mirotic had just been named the starter over Portis and rookie Lauri Markkanen, and was all set to kick off a very important fourth season. Mirotic opened with a statement saying he wouldn't comment on the past. "Fighting for the same team and we're both gonna do what we need to do to make it work".

But before the Bulls even can consider finding a trade partner before January 15 - the earliest he can be dealt - Mirotic needs to get back on the floor, a process that includes practicing this week with the Windy City Bulls.

Instead of heading to the "Mile High" city Wednesday, Mirotic is staying in the Windy City, or going there to be more specific.