Healthy Nikola Mirotic claims not to be focused on trade speculation
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When he was asked about it Saturday, Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic claimed he didn’t know what Monday might mean for his future.
‘‘Not really,’’ Mirotic said at the shootaround before the Bulls’ game Saturday against the Pistons at the United Center. ‘‘What’s going on?’’
When he was pressed further, Mirotic insisted he didn’t know and asked what Jan. 15 represented. When he was reminded that’s the first day he’s eligible to be traded, he responded: ‘‘Thanks for the information. That’s probably the biggest information that I need to know.’’
Mirotic had missed the Bulls’ last two games with an illness but played 22 minutes and scored 16 points in a 107-105 victory in what might have been his last appearance with the team.
Mirotic said that he wasn’t worried about showcasing himself for teams around the league and that his only focus was to beat the Pistons. He didn’t answer directly when he was asked whether he wanted to stay in Chicago.
‘‘I want to win tonight; that’s all I want to do,’’ Mirotic said. ‘‘We’ll see. But I’m happy in Chicago. I’m obviously very happy, and my family, too. We all like Chicago, and we are more than thankful for the opportunity to be here. That’s all I can tell you now.’’
Regardless of what happens, Mirotic’s future with the Bulls has been a major talking point since teammate Bobby Portis punched him in the face in October. Even though his future might be only days away from being determined, Mirotic isn’t worried about getting it sorted out soon.
Or so he says.
‘‘I think my future is good so far,’’ Mirotic said. ‘‘I’m standing where I want to be now and playing after my injury, and I just want to have fun playing basketball. I’m not worried what’s going to happen. If something is going to happen, it’s going to happen for everybody — me, Bulls. Sometimes you can’t control some things, but you can control being professional and trying to do your best.’’
Coach Fred Hoiberg praised the impact Mirotic has had on the Bulls since returning in December and how he has moved forward despite the speculation.
Hoiberg bemoaned all the trade rumors around Mirotic and the league as a whole, saying, ‘‘It’s just unfortunately the world we live in right now.’’ He said 99 percent of the rumors are false.
‘‘There have been a lot of rumors with our guys — with guys all across the league, really,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘Stay focused on the task at hand, and Niko’s done a great job with that.’’
Follow me on Twitter @BrianSandalow.