Bulls

Schanowski: Wade to Chicago unlikely but possible

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Schanowski: Wade to Chicago unlikely but possible

Friday, July 2, 2010
12:18 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

What should we make of Dwyane Wades decision to schedule a meeting with the Bulls on Thursday? Was it simply a case of making his friends and relatives happy by listening to what the hometown team had to say, or is he really interested in joining forces with Derrick Rose in Chicago? Please post your comments in the section below.

First off, theres probably a 90 percent likelihood Wade will stay in Miami for the rest of his career. He loves the South Beach lifestyle and the weather. Hes one of the biggest sports celebrities in the area, and he enjoys mingling with all the beautiful people that travel in and out of South Florida. Like many of us, Wade grew up with the harsh Midwest winters, and hes probably not in any hurry to experience that all over again. Spending a good chunk of his summers in Chicago is one thing, making it his year-round home again is another.

So, what is the unlikely scenario that could cause Wade to re-consider his devotion to Miami? First off, it would mean LeBron James deciding to stay in Cleveland, which is looking more likely with each passing hour. Next, Chris Bosh accepting a sign-and-trade deal to a Western Conference team like Houston or Dallas. That would force Wade to look over the free agent landscape, and realize the only help he might get is from talented, but erratic big men Amare Stoudemire andor Carlos Boozer. Wade is tired of doing so much heavy lifting after experiencing that 15 win season back in 2007-2008, and then pretty much carrying mediocre Miami teams into the playoffs (and first round eliminations) in each of the last two seasons.

All of a sudden, those harsh Chicago winters might not seem so bad anymore. If Wade would be willing to sign with the Bulls, he could bring Boozer or Stoudemire with him, and instantly transform the Bulls into one of the best teams in the East. A starting line-up of Wade, Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and StoudemireBoozer would cause all kinds of problems for any team in the conference. By contrast, if Wade stayed in Miami with either Stoudemire or Boozer as his All-Star running mate, the rest of the starting line-up would include some combination of Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. Not exactly a title contending group.

Bulls Executive John Paxson desperately wanted to draft Wade back in 2003. He had the former Marquette All-American in for a couple visits, and was hoping Wade would still be on the board when the Bulls picked at number 7. But Pat Riley surprised everyone by selecting Wade with the 5th pick, forcing the Bulls to settle for Kirk Hinrich. Captain Kirk has been a very productive player, but Wade is arguably the third best player in the league behind LeBron and Kobe Bryant. Paxson would love the chance to bring Wade back to his hometown as a high-scoring compliment to his All-Star point guard, Rose.

Its pretty unlikely Wade has the same type of nostalgic feelings about a Chicago homecoming. After all, he was critical of the way the Bulls organization treats its former players, and hes going through a messy divorce with his childhood sweetheart whos living in the Chicago area right now. Wade has temporary custody of the couples two children, and probably wants to avoid the drama that would be sure to come with playing for the Bulls. But from a pure basketball standpoint, signing on with the Bulls might not look all that bad if Riley strikes out in his plan to sign two all-stars to team up with Wade in Miami.

LEBRON DECISION COULD COME BY MONDAY

The Bulls get their chance to make a presentation to the biggest prize in the 2010 free agent class, LeBron James, on Saturday in Cleveland. As I mentioned, agents, NBA executives and national media members are now predicting James will probably stay in Cleveland, possibly on a 2 or 3 year contract. James can tell his home-state fans he will give it all he has to win a championship during that time period, and if hes unsuccessful, he can leave in good conscience.

Officials of the Nets and Knicks say their presentations to LeBron went well on Thursday, and Im sure well hear the same from the Heat and Clippers on Friday. But the reality is, James can only play for one team next season, and unless hes prepared to turn his back on the only place hes ever called home, the Bulls are facing an uphill battle.

Jerry Reinsdorf, John Paxson, Gar Forman and new coach Tom Thibodeau will lay out all the reasons why the Bulls offer the best chance for LeBron to win championships right away. Im sure theyll also lay out an impressive marketing plan that emphasizes the Bulls unique status as a world-wide brand. Lets hope LeBron puts basketball and winning over everything else when deciding which team to sign with next week.

No big deal, only the short-term future of at least a half-dozen franchises riding on what he ultimately decides.

Bulls' Bobby Portis publicly apologizes to Nikola Mirotic: 'I'm wrong for what I did'

Bulls' Bobby Portis publicly apologizes to Nikola Mirotic: 'I'm wrong for what I did'

Bobby Portis publicly issued an apology to Nikola Mirotic for the punch that broke two bones in Mirotic’s face and caused a concussion earlier this week.

Portis was suspended eight games by the NBA while Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks after he goes through concussion protocol, following an incident in Tuesday’s practice where the tensions boiled over between the two power forwards.

“I'm wrong for what I did. I want to publicly apologize to Niko,” said Portis outside the Bulls locker room at the United Center, hours before the home opener against the San Antonio Spurs. “I feel like I let my fans, the Bulls organization, and most importantly my teammates down. This is not who Bobby Portis is.”

Sticking to clear talking points, repeatedly saying “we were competing” as a way to describe the incident, it was a more toned down version of Portis. Portis is usually colorful and engaging when talking to the media.

Saturday, he was muted, almost robotic in a sense. And he didn’t want to go into the incident in detail, one that many sources have said was instigated by Mirotic as the two were going back and forth physically during several possessions.

The play before, things intensified, causing assistant coach Randy Brown to step in and break things up. The next time downcourt, Mirotic apparently charged at Portis and Portis responded with one punch that sent Mirotic to the floor.

Gently choosing his words, Portis said, “We were competing and kinda went back and forth and things happened.”

When asked if he was shoved, Portis reiterated the two were competing although numerous accounts say Mirotic did push him leading up to the direct incident.

“Yes I was surprised by my own action,” Portis said. “That's not who I was, as I first stated. I'm a competitor at the end of the day but I never meant to hurt my teammate.”

Portis and Mirotic have not yet spoken, although Portis said he’s called and texted Mirotic with no response. It hasn’t been determined whether Mirotic will take legal action on Portis.

“Not concerned with that at this point,” Portis said. “At this point I’m just trying to publicly apologize to Niko and my teammates, and that I’m real sincere about the situation.”

Portis will be allowed to practice during his suspension, having returned Friday and Portis believes things can be mended with he and his teammate.

“Going forward I want to make sure that me and Niko are cool and we can be teammates again,” Portis said. “I'm pretty sure we can. We just have to repair this relationship.”

Justin Holiday said the issue will have to be addressed head on as opposed to being swept under the rug or letting the element of time naturally heal things. Whether that conversation is initiated by teammates or the coaching staff or front office, as long as both are wearing a Bulls uniform, it will be necessary.

“It hasn’t been arranged, but I’m pretty sure we’ll have to talk it out,” Portis said. “And I’m pretty sure it will be a gentle conversation. I’m pretty sure we can get past this.”

Bobby Portis apologizes to teammates as Bulls continue to deal with all-around complicated situation

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AP

Bobby Portis apologizes to teammates as Bulls continue to deal with all-around complicated situation

The mending hasn’t yet begun for the Bulls, but perhaps a good sign in moving forward from the Bobby Portis punch that delivered a concussion and broken facial bones to Nikola Mirotic is that it isn’t being ignored.

Fred Hoiberg is being tight-lipped about where matters stand, but he did at least say Portis returned to practice and apologized to the team Friday afternoon. Hoiberg wouldn’t reveal the contents of Portis’ apology and Portis didn’t address the media, but it’s clear things aren’t business-as-usual at the Advocate Center.

“Bobby was back at practice. It was good to have him back in here,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously, everybody’s looking forward to having Niko back in here, as well, hopefully soon.”

When asked about Portis’ spirit, Hoiberg deflected and preferred to talk about what adjustments the team will have to make in the immediate future, especially with rookie Lauri Markkanen having to go against Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the home opener Saturday night.

“That’s the biggest thing we have to do as far as preparing until we get our guys back, is throwing different lineups out there and hopefully getting better with our execution,” Hoiberg said.

Justin Holiday admitted that things aren’t normal, saying the actual games to start the season won’t serve as a welcome distraction because this isn’t something that can just be treated trivially.

He wouldn’t venture into getting into his teammates’ head, saying “Bobby came into today like Bobby. We’re not quite sure what he’s thinking mentally. We can’t assume that.”

But one thing that can’t be assumed is a sweeping under or pretending.

“I mean I don’t necessarily think this is a situation for us to get past,” Holiday said. “I think it’s a situation that obviously (needs) to be brought to the forefront. It’s a situation that needs to be taken care of for those two to be able to come together and be brothers again. I don’t think we’re trying to get past it.”

Holiday has been a leader during this early time, so his words and definitive tone were noticeable.

“They say sometimes you need time to heal,” Holiday said. “Again, we have to think about both situations in this. One guy is trying to get back healthy. And again, I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish we could just fix this the right way, but that’s not the case.”

It’s complicated all around, with no real precedent.

For Hoiberg, his handling has two faces. Since Portis is able to practice but has to sit out seven more games on a team-mandated suspension, he has to walk the line of incorporating Portis in daily drills and activities but also has to prepare a team that wasn’t prepared for two power forwards being out for an extended period.

That was on display Thursday as Quincy Pondexter likely played that position for the first time in his career, and it’s highly unlikely Paul Zipser practiced there at all with the depth the Bulls had until now.

“We have to get our guys ready to play positions that they haven’t played,” Hoiberg said. “We’re getting them in here early. We’re getting a group in to work on our execution. Quincy not only hasn’t played in two and a half years but I don’t know if he has ever played the 4.

“You just have to do the best with what you have.”