Representatives of injured Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic have informed the Chicago Bulls that their client no longer wants to be teammates with forward Bobby Portis.
Mirotic suffered fractured facial bones and a concussion in a practice fight with Portis on Oct. 17 and is expected to miss four to six more weeks. The Bulls suspended Portis eight games for his role in the altercation.
Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson told reporters Friday that the organization is sensitive to Mirotic's plight.
"I'm not going to get into any specifics about what discussions we have had with any agents and players," Paxson said. "What I do want to say is we're really sensitive to this entire issue and what Niko is going through physically and mentally. We're trying to be sensitive to him.
"We don't have all the answers today. But just like in anything, as an organization we have to do what's in our best interests. That's the bottom line. And so we will.
"We understand what he's going through. We have to be patient. It's not something that's going to be resolved overnight. We're going to continue to communicate with Niko and his representatives and find our way through this. It's very important for us to do what's in our best interest."
Mirotic signed a two-year, $27 million contract with the Bulls prior to the season. He reportedly has informed the team he will waive his no-trade clause if Portis remains with the team.
Portis apologized for his actions on Oct. 21 and said at the time that he hadn't heard from Mirotic.
"I'm wrong for what I did," Portis said during a press conference. "I want to publicly apologize to Niko. I feel like I let my fans, the Bulls organization and, most importantly, my teammates down. This is not who Bobby Portis is."
The Bulls previously revealed that both Mirotic and Portis were aggressors leading up to the fight.
Chicago also has reportedly been angling to get the two players together for a discussion once Mirotic is healthy but it doesn't appear as if the 26-year-old Mirotic is interested in such a scenario.
"Your hope is that as time goes on, there can be some communication where it gets resolved," Paxson said. "But this is a unique situation. It really is. That's why I say we don't have all the answers today and not sure where it's exactly going to go."
Mirotic averaged 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in his first three seasons with the Bulls. He knocked down 363 3-pointers during that span.
Portis, 22, averaged 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in his first two seasons with Chicago.