Bulls big man Bobby Portis is done throwing punches at former teammate Nikola Mirotic.
At the end of last season, Portis insisted he was going to go to The Players’ Tribune website during the summer and tell his side of the story regarding the practice altercation between him and Mirotic last training camp.
A punch by Portis broke a couple of bones in Mirotic’s face, gave him a concussion and resulted in him missing extended time. It also led to Mirotic demanding a trade from the Bulls, who eventually dealt him to the Pelicans.
‘‘I decided to not do it,’’ Portis said Tuesday of writing about the incident. ‘‘Just focus on the future and focus on myself. Me and my family, I hung out with them a lot. It was a blast. My little brothers are growing up. I really wasn’t worried about anybody else but myself and bettering myself. Focused on the season and locked in to having a good year, not only for myself but for the organization.’’
Coincidentally, Portis will see Mirotic again Sunday, when the Bulls host the Pelicans in their preseason opener at the United Center. The two never really spoke away from the court after the punch, and that likely won’t change.
‘‘Me and Niko always compete at a high level against each other,’’ Portis said. ‘‘We’re two competitors, two guys who love the game of basketball. He had a good playoffs [with the Pelicans], good year at the end of the year. I was happy for him and what he did.
‘‘It will be fun to compete against him Sunday. At the same time, we’re trying to build our chemistry here and get ready for the [regular-season opener Oct. 18].’’
According to general manager Gar Forman, the Bulls and Portis’ representatives are working on an extension as he moves off his rookie contract.
‘‘We’ll continue those conversations up until the deadline,’’ Forman said. ‘‘We value Bobby. We look at Bobby as part of our core. He has continued to improve each year. All of us up here love the energy he plays with, the work ethic he has, what he brings to the practice floor and game floor. That’s why we’ve been having conversations.’’
Portis didn’t seem to be sweating it either way.
‘‘Nah,’’ Portis said of the pressure of getting a deal done. ‘‘Last year, they said it was make-or-break for me. Every year, I guess, is make-or-break. I’m having fun, enjoying my teammates, trying to be more of a leader this year, lead by example. Do all the little things. Just try to bring everyone together and be one. That’s all I’m worried about. No contract talk; not really worried about that. I just enjoy playing basketball.’’
Coach Fred Hoiberg admitted his players already are starting to get tired of hearing about how suspect they are defensively.
‘‘I think that you certainly hear it,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘It’s hard in this era when things are said to not hear it. So I think our group as a whole, it is an area we need to improve in.’’