Markkanen a fan of Portis; Mirotic, meanwhile, in ‘good spirits’?


As Bobby Portis plays — occasionally lying down — Nikola Mirotic works out alone.

More than three weeks since throwing the punch that broke bones in teammate Nikola Mirotic’s face, Bulls forward Bobby Portis was back on the court Friday against the Pacers.

It was his second game since returning from an eight-game suspension handed down by the team.

“He brings a lot of energy to our team,” rookie Lauri Markkanen said. “He can play both ends of the floor. Energy is a big thing for us. We want to play harder and have more energy than the other team. Bobby helps us a lot with that.”

Meanwhile, Mirotic continues to recover slowly — and solitarily — from facial fractures and a concussion.


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“He continues to get his work in and continues to add to his workload and continues to feel better,” coach Fred Hoiberg said.

According to Hoiberg, Mirotic is in “good spirits” — hard to believe amid reports the third-year pro is in a he-goes-or-I-go frame of mind in regard to Portis. Mirotic is working out at the Bulls’ practice facility during off hours. In other words, when Portis isn’t around.

Perhaps worth noting: Hoiberg said Mirotic is “happy for Lauri” as the rookie is gobbling up minutes and thriving.

An in-house deal

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league had little involvement in the discipline of Portis.

“My view was that if the basketball operations people at the league thought it was getting the proper attention from the team, the league did not need to step in,” Silver said. “That was my only involvement. I think they handled it the right way.”

The view from above

Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf on the state of the team’s rebuild: “We’re only a few weeks in. Lauri’s playing really well. So far, we’re happy. … The team is playing really hard. Fred’s got them playing really hard, and it’s not going unnoticed. There are certain sportswriters in the city that have written actually positive articles about the way the team is playing right now.”

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