Chicago Bulls

Bobby Portis apologizes for the punch that put Nikola Mirotic in the hospital

Bobby Portis has apologized publicly for throwing a punch that could derail his NBA career.

As the NBA was preparing for the glittery roll out of a Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers matchup to lead the Opening Night of the NBA season, word leaked out that Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls had been involved in a serious altercation at practice that afternoon.

Portis reportedly threw a punch that sent Mirotic to the hospital with facial fractures and a concussion, sidelining him indefinitely. Portis was suspended for eight games for the altercation. Obviously there is some repairing of relationships that needs to be done if Portis is going to rejoin the Bulls on the court this season. He began that process today by making a public apology for the incident.

He certainly sounds contrite but this is an incident that could have ripple effects for both the Bulls and Portis on and off the court for years to come. The Bulls were projected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season, but losing Mirotic removes one of the key veteran presences they have to scaffold things for the youngsters.

Portis would likely have played plenty of frontcourt minutes this season and gotten more opportunities to grow and develop. It’s possible that he returns after his suspension and slides back into that role. However, if the Bulls feel the need to cut ties with him, they may find that this incident has depressed his trade value to the point of being useless, and Portis’ own developmental trajectory will likely be interrupted.

It was an ugly way to start the season for all involved. Here’s hoping Mirotic makes a full and speedy recovery, nothing like this ever happens again and Portis and the Bulls are all able to maximize their potential in the future.

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