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John Paxson preaches patience on Nikola Mirotic-Bobby Portis saga

Chicago Bulls executive vice president John Paxson made an unscheduled appearance in front of the media before the team’s practice Friday to address the ongoing saga involving Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis.

Multiple outlets have reported that Mirotic will not play with Portis once he returns to the team. Mirotic remains sidelined after Portis punched him during a confrontation in practice. Mirotic suffering facial fractures and a concussion and is expected to be out four to six weeks. Portis was suspended eight games by the Bulls.

Paxson was asked about the reports surrounding what amounts to a “Him or Me” demand by Mirotic.

“I’m not going to get into any specifics about what discussions we have had with any agents and players,” Paxson said, via the Chicago Tribune. “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. … It’s not something that’s going to be resolved overnight.”

Paxson was asked if there’s any chance Mirotic and Portis can co-exist as teammates going forward.

“I don’t have that answer right now. I really don’t,” Paxson said. “Your hope is that as time goes on, there can be some communication where it gets resolved. 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.”

Paxson added the entire situation is a “distraction,” which is a significant understatement. It’s arguably naive for Bulls management to expect Mirotic to carry on as if nothing happened. Although it does make sense for Paxson to take such a stance if he hopes to get anything in return for either player if trading one of them is the only way out of this mess. At this point, being forced such a move seems inevitable.