There was a time when Dwyane Wade wanted a say in personnel decisions, especially when it came to the group starting around him.
Now the 14-year veteran is all out of that end of the business.
So while Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic, and even Bobby Portis, are involved in a competition for the No. 4 spot in the starting lineup, Wade is willing to wait for a decision rather than offer his opinion.
“I’ve learned to stay out of it, stay out the way,’’ Wade said on Tuesday. “When I was younger, I thought I had that pull to be able to do that. Then it starts getting a little tricky. You start getting in relationships with guys. You don’t want to get involved if a guy’s not playing or a guy is not there no more. So I totally took myself out of that situation.
“I just started being a player and letting the coaches decide who they want to play, and let the GM and president decide who they want to bring in. Business can take over and it becomes tough. Don’t want to be in the middle of it.’’
Fred Hoiberg doesn’t have that luxury. The second-year coach will inevitably have the loudest voice in who wins that job, and if it was based on just individual performance would have already been a tap-out situation.
Through the first three preseason games, Gibson was leading the Bulls in scoring with 13.7 points per game on 71 percent shooting, as well as grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game.
Mirotic was averaging eight points a game on 35 percent shooting.
Fortunately for Mirotic it’s not just based on individual numbers.
“We look at all the analytics, the five-man lineups and that type of thing, and see who is fitting best with each other on the floor,’’ Hoiberg said. “And it’s not just with the four-spot and starting, who starts at that position, but it’s also which guards mix best with each other, who fits with the bigs?’’
What Hoiberg made very clear is that this competition could go down until the very end before a decision is announced.
“I think it will probably go all the way,’’ Hoiberg said. “All the way until, or at least the last week. After we play that last preseason game I think we’ll have a pretty good idea about who we want to start out there. So yeah, we’ll continue to experiment the rest of this preseason and see how it goes.’’
Wade made sure to stay far away from commenting on anything Donald Trump these days, especially the idea of what is and what isn’t “locker room talk.’’
“I didn’t have a reaction,’’ Wade said. “I’ve seen other guys’ reaction. But I didn’t feel I wanted to waste any time on a reaction.’’
Both Denzel Valentine and Tony Snell are on the shelf with ankle sprains, and would likely miss the back-to-back games against Cleveland and Milwaukee over the weekend.
Hoiberg made it sound like Valentine is closer to a return than Snell was.
“We’ll see what happens this weekend,’’ Hoiberg said. “We won’t rule [Valentine] out at this point, but it’s just continuing to make progress as it goes on.’’