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#pounditWednesday, January 26, 2022

Articles tagged: Chicago Bulls

Mikal Bridges feels he would fit ‘perfectly’ with Bulls

NBA draft picks have little say in where they land, but former Villanova swingman Mikal Bridges is certainly hoping that he ends up on a certain team.

Bridges worked out for the Chicago Bulls on Monday, and the team made him available for the media, where he offered effusive praise for the organization and how comfortable they made him feel.

There are reasons to believe that Bridges might actually get his wish. He would fit a need for Chicago, who could use a small forward type, and he’ll probably be available when they draft at No. 7. Plus, the Bulls can simply ask Villanova how strongly they feel about Bridges’s contributions.

Bulls asked if Sister Jean could represent them at draft lottery

Sister Jean shirt

The NCAA Tournament may be long over, but Sister Jean Mania continues in the city of Chicago.

During his exit interview on Thursday, Chicago Bulls executive vice president John Paxson responded to a suggestion from Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic that Sister Jean represent the team at the NBA Draft lottery in June. Paxson replied that the Bulls actually asked if she could, but it was against the rules.

The reason? The representative must be affiliated with the organization.

The 98-year-old Sister Jean, Loyola Chicago’s team chaplain, became an international hit this past month during the Ramblers’ Cinderella run to the Final Four. While she may not be able to serve as the Bulls’ good luck charm and intercede for the ping pong balls to bounce in their favor, her newfound fame has earned her plenty of other opportunities in the pro basketball realm.

Chicago Bulls reportedly warned by NBA about seemingly tanking

Chicago Bulls logo

The NBA has made it clear that they do not like the notion of teams tanking, and they apparently warned the Chicago Bulls about the practice.

According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, the NBA warned the Bulls this week about resting healthy players.

Robin Lopez, who is averaging 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, has not played since Feb. 14 despite being healthy. The team has lost five of the six games in which he sat. Justin Holiday, who is averaging 13 points per game, has only played once since the All-Star break.

Lopez tried to make light of the situation when asked about tanking, but it’s clear the NBA takes it seriously. The 21-42 Bulls are angling for a top pick in the lottery.

Bulls reportedly trading Nikola Mirotic to Pelicans

The Bulls have agreed to a deal with the Pelicans that will send Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, according to a report.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was told by sources that the two teams are finalizing a trade. The Bulls will be receiving Omer Asik and a future first-round pick as part of the package. Tony Allen is also in the deal, but Wojnarowski reports that he will likely be waived and become a free agent.

Mirotic is averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season, and he should give the Pelicans’ frontcourt a boost as they look to overcome the loss of DeMarcus Cousins. The big man infamously got into a fight with a teammate during practice earlier in the season.

Report: Bulls players taking Bobby Portis’ side in dispute with Mirotic

Bobby Portis

The Chicago Bulls’ locker room has reportedly made their decision on who to side with in the conflict between Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic.

According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bulls players are siding with Portis in the feud, with one Bulls player telling Cowley that Mirotic’s demands that one of them must go “is Niko’s problem now.”

Bulls players do not defend Portis for punching Mirotic, but the team’s younger players felt that Mirotic acted entitled to a starting job during training camp. They also feel that Portis has done what is necessary to reach out and apologize to Mirotic, and they see Mirotic’s failure to respond as another strike against the veteran.

Reports have indicated that the Bulls doubt that Portis and Mirotic can ever mend fences after their practice fight. By the sound of it, Portis’s teammates wouldn’t be too upset to see the back of Mirotic either.

Nikola Mirotic upset Bobby Portis will make Bulls return before him

When the Chicago Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, forward Bobby Portis will take his spot on the bench and play back-up to Lauri Markkanen, possibly even seeing some reserve minutes throughout the game.

It will be Portis’ first action of the season after serving a team-issued eight-game suspension following an altercation with teammate Nikola Mirotic on October 17, which resulted in Mirotic suffering a concussion and facial fractures.

Although he is no longer experiencing any concussion symptoms, the timetable for Mirotic’s return is not nearly as close at hand. In fact, he’s expected to miss several more weeks and that, understandably, does not sit well.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Mirotic remains both upset about the altercation and distant from his teammates and the organization.

Though he is free of his concussion symptoms, Nikola Mirotic remains weeks away from returning from the two facial fractures that Portis caused with a punch to the face during an Oct. 17 altercation between the forwards in practice. 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.

Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg supports the return of Portis despite Mirotic’s continued frustration.

“This is something that unfortunately, it happened,” Hoiberg said. “There was an altercation. And Bobby served the eight-game suspension. It was something that was thought a lot about as far as what the punishment would be, in collaboration with the league. They felt that this was the right punishment. He sat out his games and was able to stay active and practice with us. Now we’ll put him back on the floor. And we welcome him back.”

To this point, Portis and Mirotic have not spoken since the altercation, although Portis has reportedly attempted to reach out. Ultimately, it’s going to be very tricky for the Bulls to keep both players on their roster despite continued efforts to do exactly that.

John Paxson defends Bulls’ handling of Mirotic-Portis fight

Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson continues to try to navigate the minefield that was laid down when two of his players fought in practice.

Paxson tried to defend himself and the team over accusations that the Bulls have thrown Nikola Mirotic under the bus for his role in a fight with Bobby Portis that severely injured Mirotic.

Word leaked publicly that the Bulls felt that Mirotic was the aggressor in the fight, and sources told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that Mirotic’s camp is not pleased by that — nor the fact that Portis was allowed to practice during his eight-game suspension. Paxson sees it differently.

“There are always two sides,” Paxson said. “In doling out the punishment to Bobby, that’s fairly unprecedented, too, what we did. Like I told you last week, we consulted with the league to make sure we were going about it the right way. We’re confident with what we did. I’ve never been in Niko’s position where something like that happens. We are trying to understand it and work with him and his people. But we can’t just do something for the sake of doing it. It has to be in our best interest too.”

Paxson also navigated the rumors that Mirotic has more or less told the Bulls that either he or Portis must go, with the executive VP repeatedly saying that the team is trying to be “sensitive.”

“I don’t have that answer right now,” Paxson said. “Your hope is that as time goes on, there can be some communication where it gets resolved. But this is a unique situation.

“We’re supportive of Niko and what he’s going through. We support Bobby too. He’s a part of our team. You sit here in my position, (general manager Gar Forman’s) position, ownership’s position and you see it’s a distraction. But we also have to keep these young guys focused on what they’re doing. And they’re playing games right now and trying to get better every day.”

The Bulls would obviously like a say in how Mirotic and Portis’s futures with the team shake out. This situation doesn’t appear to be improving, though.

Bulls give Bobby Portis eight-game suspension for punching Nikola Mirotic

The Chicago Bulls came down hard on forward Bobby Portis for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic in a fight during practice on Tuesday.

The Bulls announced Wednesday that Portis has been suspended eight games by the team for his actions, which sent Mirotic to the hospital with a concussion and facial injuries.

Bulls general manager John Paxson said both players had acted inappropriately leading up to the fight, but Portis was the only one who threw a punch.

Mirotic is expected to miss a few weeks with the injuries he sustained in the fight. He will still likely end up missing more time than Portis, who would be eligible to return on Nov. 7 against the Toronto Raptors.

Report: Dwyane Wade waiting for Bulls to come to him with buyout offer

Dwyane Wade Bulls

Dwyane Wade is ready to leave the Chicago Bulls, but he reportedly isn’t going to rock the boat to make it happen.

According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Wade has made it clear that he wants a buyout from the Bulls, but has not gone directly to the front office with his request. Instead, he intends to wait for the front office to come to him with what he considers to be “suitable” compensation.

Wade is willing to be a good teammate and quietly report to camp, and is set to make $24 million this season for doing so. He is, however, clearly uninterested in being part of a long-term rebuilding project, which is exactly what the Bulls have become.

A buyout for Wade feels like a matter of when, not if at this point, and he has a couple possible destinations in mind when it does happen.

Report: Young Bulls players ‘can’t stand’ Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade Bulls

If Dwyane Wade was brought in, in part, for his veteran leadership to young Chicago Bulls players, it seems to have backfired.

In a Tuesday appearance on ESPN’s The Jump, Nick Friedell said that a Wade buyout was “inevitable” and that he has very much worn out his welcome with the team’s younger players.

“The reality for Dwyane is he was sold as the guy who was going to help everybody in that locker room,” Friedell said. “And he did for a couple months, and then there was that big blowup with Jimmy Butler in January. The young players on the Bulls really can’t stand Dwyane, and it’s like the little secret in Chicago. They have had enough.

“He didn’t practice…but they really got upset because he called them all out in the media. And he said, ‘You guys aren’t working hard enough.’ And then they had a big team meeting the next day, and they said, ‘Who are you to say we’re not working hard? Because we’re out there every day busting our butt.’ So there’s a lot of friction there, a lot of tension.”

Wade did indeed make some very harsh comments about his younger teammates in January, and it’s easy to see how they’d come off badly with the knowledge that Wade wasn’t even practicing.

Friedell said that it’s simply a question of when Wade will be bought out.

“This is inevitable. It’s coming,” Friedell said. “It’s just a matter of when, not if. But right now, guys, it’s just kind of a staring contest. Everybody’s looking at each other saying ‘OK, how much money are you willing to give up?'”

There’s a chance Wade may end up back with LeBron James, but it seems like we’re still a ways off from anything concrete happening.

H/T CBS Sports