LOS ANGELES — The Bulls aren’t looking to play hardball with Robin Lopez as much as they are just trying to conduct smart business.
So while there was a Yahoo Sports report out late Sunday night that stated the Bulls were refusing to negotiate a buyout with their veteran center so that he could possibly join the Golden State Warriors, looking to trade Lopez before the Feb. 7 trade deadline has been atop their priority list for the last few months and will stay there.
This is about trying to collect draft assets first and foremost. The same reason they traded Justin Holiday to Memphis at the start of the month, getting back two future second-round picks, as well as Wayne Selden. The same approach they have been trying to take with Jabari Parker, as they look to move the disgruntled forward.
As for Lopez, he has stated all along that he was staying out of the business of basketball, and while he’s had frequent discussions with his agent this season, his focus is on the court.
“I’m looking to play basketball,’’ Lopez said last week. “That’s what I’m here to do, that’s what I enjoy doing. I like playing with these guys, so whatever happens I’m going to go out there and work for my teammates.’’
Lopez said that he has spoken to management, but the veteran isn’t the type to dwell on what ifs.
“Whenever I see them they say, ‘Keep working, Rolo, keep at it,’ ‘’ Lopez said. “We’ve got a positive relationship going there.’’