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Bulls’ Mirotic accepts Portis’ apology in first comments since punch

Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic spoke with the media Wednesday for the first time since his teammate, Bobby Portis, punched him in the face during a practice Oct. 17.

While many saw this as Mirotic’s chance to finally tell his side of the story, the 6-foot-10 forward remained relatively silent on the matter.

“I will not comment on anything in the past. I’m here just to support them,” Mirotic said. “If I’m here it means my team needs me.”

Mirotic also said he accepts Portis’ apology. When asked if Portis knew that, Mirotic said, “I guess he will know now.”

Nikola Mirotic is expected to speak with the media, which means he'll finally have the chance to tell his side of what happened at practice on Oct. 17.

Accepting Portis’ apology appeared unrealistic last month after Mirotic and his camp issued an ultimatum to the Bulls, insisting that Portis had to go or Mirotic would be willing to waive his no-trade clause so that he could be sent elsewhere.

Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said he’d do “what’s best for the organization.”

Although Mirotic addressed this incident, the problems between the two have been solved. Both have had little interaction with one another since that October practice, despite Portis making a public apology one week after the altercation.

Mirotic made it sound like his relationship with Portis will be strictly limited to just coexisting on the same team.

“I’ve been playing this game nine years professionally,” Mirotic said. “I was always a good teammate, always professional with everybody. I’m going to continue to do that. If I’m here, it’s because I want to support the team. He’s a part of the team. I’m going to support him too.”

But at the end of the day, Mirotic said he’s “very happy” to be back with the Bulls.

“I missed the game a lot while I was watching my guys far from home. Very positive now,” he said.

It’s still unclear when Mirotic will play, but it sounds like both Mirotic and coach Fred Hoiberg are hoping for it to be sooner rather than later.

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