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You Had One Job: Chicago Bulls Can’t Even Get Culture Right

You Had One Job: Chicago Bulls Can’t Even Get Culture Right
FILe - At left, in a Jan. 2, 2017, file photo, Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago. At right, in an Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, Chicago Bulls' Bobby Portis (5) handles the ball during a preseason NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, in Dallas. The Chicago Bulls have suspended forward Bobby Portis for the first eight games for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight at practice. Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion on Tuesday. He will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely. The team announced the suspension on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

CHICAGO — From day one of the Chicago Bulls‘ rebuild, management has pushed a new and improved culture as a central selling point.

Really, it’s all they can sell.

Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade are out of the picture, and questions surround many of their young players. There isn’t enough talent on the roster to expect anything more than 30 wins. Even hope isn’t marketable yet.

So that leaves culture. Coaches, players and management have repeated the talking points ad nauseum since the start of training camp—they may not win a lot, but everyone plays hard and everyone is unselfish. Or so it goes.

But just two days before Chicago opens its season Thursday in Toronto, that new Bulls culture is being tested in a way that nobody wanted or anticipated. The first of potentially many rebuilding seasons was derailed Tuesday by an incident during practice between power forwards Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic.

By all accounts, what started as a normal, high-intensity practice escalated into words and shoving between the two big men. Portis threw a punch at Mirotic, and it landed. Mirotic is in the hospital, out at least four to six weeks with a concussion and maxillary fractures, while Portis has been suspended for the Bulls’ first eight games.

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