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Bulls remain more train wreck than promising rebuild these days

Nikola Mirotic was scheduled for some light, supervised stationary bike work Tuesday.

Jerian Grant remains a better point guard than Kris Dunn in the eyes of the organization.

And Zach LaVine was still “a couple of weeks away’’ from taking full contact in practices, as he strolls down the road to recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Fred Hoiberg rips into team, lets players know that they ‘folded’
NBA executive thinks Grant-Dunn ‘open’ competition is already over
Fred Hoiberg is staying clear of the Mirotic-Portis drama for a reason

Thank goodness for some flashes of brilliance from rookie Lauri Markkanen because this Bulls rebuild resembles more of a crashed clown car than a franchise moving in the right direction.

“I think it’s a big step,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said of Mirotic’s arrival at the Advocate Center for the first time since teammate Bobby Portis punched him in a practice altercation two weeks ago. “Niko will be in here [Tuesday] afternoon. We’re going to leave a trainer back to supervise his workouts. But it’s a good first step to get him feeling better. He’ll hopefully have good workouts, be able to do a little more every day. It’d be good to see him when we get back.

“Obviously, the workouts will start very basic, just starting on a bike. Get a bit of a sweat going. But I’m sure for Niko, it’ll be great to get back in here and start some activity again.’’

As far as mending fences with Portis, Hoiberg wasn’t ready to explore that scenario.

“The important thing is Niko’s going to get back in here for the first time to get active again,’’ Hoiberg said. “And then that’s the next step, to get the group back together, then hopefully move on from it.’’

If Mirotic and his camp have any say in the matter, there won’t be any such thing. Mirotic gave the Bulls’ front office a “me or him’’ ultimatum: Either Portis is sent elsewhere or Mirotic will waive his no-trade clause and demand a move.

There has been no softening of that stance, sources said.

Mirotic has opted against surgery, but the timetable for a return hasn’t changed. He’s still two to four weeks away.

The starting point guard also hasn’t changed.

Hoiberg opened the role up after a 101-69 loss to the Thunder on Saturday, but after practice Monday, he kept the keys in Grant’s hands.

“Overall consistency is the biggest thing we’re looking for at that position,’’ Hoiberg said.

That’s fine for a team with playoff aspirations, but overall development should be the focus now, and that means Dunn — a key piece in the Jimmy Butler trade — should be getting every chance to show that he can be relied on moving forward.

Grant is what he is. The Bulls had him for a full season, even giving him a 21-game stint as the starter from Jan. 24 through March 12 before going back to Rajon Rondo. He obviously was asked to do less than he is now because of the makeup of the roster, but Grant didn’t stand out as anything more than a rotation player. The Bulls went 8-13 with him running the point.

With Dunn back and healthy from a finger injury, not getting the starting gig is either an indictment of Dunn, the decision-making or the scouting department. Either way, it’s a bad look.

“I gotta play better; I’m not playing the way I need to play,’’ Grant said. “At the same time, I wanna show these guys that I’m the guy that can hold down this spot.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com