Bulls

Sources: Nikola Mirotic prefers to be traded by Bulls

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AP

Sources: Nikola Mirotic prefers to be traded by Bulls

It’s becoming increasingly apparent the Bulls will have to make a move regarding Nikola Mirotic as the Bulls are aware of his unhappiness following his incident with Bobby Portis.

Mirotic prefers a trade out of Chicago—which won’t be available to the Bulls until mid-January at the earliest because he was a free agent this summer—and is willing to waive his no-trade clause to do so, sources tell NBCSportsChicago.com.

It’s been described by one source as “one of them has to go” and the Bulls are aware of the tenuous situation. Mirotic agreed to a two-year contract with the Bulls on the eve of training camp, with the second year being a team option.

Mirotic is still recovering from facial injuries and a concussion suffered at the hands of a Bobby Portis punch two days before the start of the season. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said Mirotic is recovering from the concussion, that the headaches have subsided and that Mirotic was in the Advocate Center recently, albeit during off-hours.

Once Mirotic leaves the NBA’s concussion protocol, he’ll have to address his facial injuries with surgery or other methods, which will likely keep him out 4 to 6 additional weeks.

Portis was suspended eight games by the Bulls but is practicing in the meantime.

Portis issued a public apology and took responsibility for the incident, although many who witnessed said Mirotic charged at Portis, causing Portis to react with one punch that caused a lot of damage.

Several teammates have reached out to Mirotic following his concussion and he has talked to Robin Lopez along with Hoiberg but it’s clear he has no intention of returning to the status quo whenever he does recover.

The Bulls have talked to at least one team about Portis, sources tell NBCSportsChicago.com and that activity promises to continue over the next few days.

The Bulls have until Oct 31 to pick up Portis’ team option for next season and if they move him, one would think the team that acquires Portis would like to make that decision as opposed to it being made for them.

Either way, this season was supposed to be one devoid of drama and personal issues, but they can’t seem to escape it and will have to address this one in swift order.

Bulls thankful Kris Dunn's injury wasn't worse; Zach LaVine cleared for extended minutes

Bulls thankful Kris Dunn's injury wasn't worse; Zach LaVine cleared for extended minutes

The fall was nasty and the concussion was substantial for Kris Dunn. But at second blush the Bulls are thankful it wasn’t worse.

Given the way his body jerked after Dunn released himself from the rim, the Bulls are glad he didn’t suffer a neck injury in addition to the concussion and dislocated front teeth.

“It could have been a major, major injury,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Obviously, it is a significant one with the concussion. You can't take these things lightly, but with the way that he fell and hit head first, we're really thankful that he'll be back hopefully before too long. But obviously we'll take things very cautiously, a cautious approach with this because of how significant concussions are. But hopefully we'll get him back soon.”

Dunn has braces on the front teeth to stabilize them, and Hoiberg said he’ll see the doctor every day over the next several days, per the league's concussion protocol. There’s a chance Dunn could join the Bulls on the three-game road trip, but he’ll miss at least Saturday’s game in Atlanta. The Bulls travel to New Orleans on Monday and Philadelphia on Wednesday.

It’s the second freak injury Dunn has suffered this season, in addition to dislocating his finger in the preseason. He struggled with it initially upon returning but recently had shown no signs of issues with it.

Dealing with a concussion and also a mouth injury makes things more complicated as far as his playing style. He plays aggressive and fast, bordering on recklessness occasionally.

Hoiberg doesn’t believe that will change when Dunn returns.

“I don't think it's going to change the way Kris plays,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously it was very unfortunate in the timing because he had a couple of really good plays there to get things really turned in our favor and get the momentum going down the stretch and they get a called timeout and get a layup out of it right away. Then we still had our chances late in that game. Kris was responsible as anybody for getting that game to striking distance. Unfortunately, we just couldn't make the plays we needed to to get the win.”

The more conservative style of Jerian Grant will take over in Dunn’s absence. Grant has been steady as a backup, averaging 7.6 points and 4.6 assists. Unlike Dunn, though, Grant hasn’t had issues with turnovers, at a four-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio this year.

Teams will dare Grant to beat them from the outside, as he’s missed 15 of his 16 3-point attempts this month.

“I've been here before, so I'm prepared. I've started a lot of games so far in my career, so I'm ready for it,” Grant said. “The last time I started, we got a win. I did what I had to do so I'm prepared to do whatever we need to do to get a win.”

Where Grant will receive relief is from Zach LaVine getting clearance for more minutes, as he’ll play in the fourth quarters and will have his minute-restriction increased to 24 minutes.

LaVine will likely play some point guard during stretches, and is shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range in the small sample size of three games and 19.7 minutes.

“We're not going to overextend him right now because he's still obviously very early in the process as far as getting back on the floor and getting in game shape,” Hoiberg said. “We don't want to get him fatigued out there so we'll keep his rotation stretches short. But wee will hopefully have him available some in the fourth quarter to give us what Kris does down the stretch, who's been as good as anybody on our team as far as helping out close games.”

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USA TODAY

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