Fun time should be over in Paris as Bulls prepare for last push

Guard Alex Caruso was all for having fun with his teammates the first few days in Paris, but with Thursday’s game with the Pistons approaching, Caruso wants his teammates to turn this back into a business trip and get back to the business of winning games.

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The Bulls’ Alex Caruso waves during practice outside of Paris.

Bulls guard Alex Caruso told teammates Wednesday in Paris it’s time to get down to business.

Christophe Ena/AP

PARIS — The Bulls have had plenty of time to sample the French wines and partake in the fine cheeses.

Guard Alex Caruso was all in favor of indulging in world-renowned Parisian fare on Monday.

But he made it clear to his teammates that Wednesday was the start of business, and that no-nonsense mentality needed to be understood from the starting five all the way down to the 15th man on this Paris Game trip.

“That’s just part of the responsibility of being a professional athlete,’’ Caruso said after the team’s practice at the Palais des Sports Marcel-Cerdan. “If you can’t have fun and then come back and focus, get ready to do your job — this is a job at the end of the day — then you probably shouldn’t be here.

“So it’s a pretty easy situation. Have your fun on the days you can have fun, then [Thursday] you’re playing a basketball game that counts on our schedule, counts on our record.’’

And could count in helping the front office make decisions as the Feb. 9 trade deadline nears.

With a 20-24 record and sitting in the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls know there have been far too many disappointing nights and reasons for executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to have doubts about this team.

By all accounts, however, he still has faith in the roster he has assembled. The next few weeks could go a long way in reinforcing his beliefs, and the players realize that.

“We’ve won a lot of games that we thought we could and lost games that we shouldn’t have,’’ guard Zach LaVine said. “It’s frustrating that we couldn’t play at that level consistently. But, obviously, there’s a lot of season left and time to turn it around. We have great players. We all like each other. And we understand what’s at stake. You keep playing like this, you’re not going to be in the position you want to. So we better start racking them up.

“The more you win, everybody is happy. If you lose, everybody is pointing fingers and looking over their shoulder. Obviously, we don’t want that. And the front office doesn’t want that. We can continue this winning streak in Paris and keep it going and see what happens. Obviously, they have to do their job, and we have to do ours.’’

If they don’t, there’s not a safe player on the roster. LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic could be involved in trade scenarios and be playing elsewhere when the deadline comes and goes.

Even Coby White or Derrick Jones Jr. could be sent out if Karnisovas were to be looking for a small tweak to the roster dynamics.

According to a source, Caruso could be the one untouchable because of how valuable he is defensively and in the plus/minus category, but that remains to be seen.

First things first, they have to take care of business against the Pistons on Thursday, then get back to the States for a huge stretch of winnable games.

“It’s on the level of we want to win,’’ Caruso said. “We think we’re a good team. And we want to be a good team. I don’t think anybody’s motivation is don’t get guys traded or don’t make moves. I think it’s more let’s play to our potential and be the team we’re capable of being.

“I think the coaching staff has done a good job of putting us in positions to do that. I think it falls on the players. Step up and win games. Professional sports, you win games, and everything goes away. Winning solves everything. You gotta show up and do your job.’’

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