Storyline: Nikola Mirotic Free Agency

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Rather than dwell on his immediate future – whether it’s with the Bulls or elsewhere, however – Mirotic is letting his representation deal with the business of basketball while he remains focused on the business of Niko. “I’ve never been more calm than now,’’ Mirotic told the Sun-Times in a phone interview. “I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because I’ve just decided to be really, really focused on myself and working hard through all of this. Like I said at the end of the season, my goal was to get really stronger this summer, add some pounds, and the last two months have been great as far as accomplishing that. I wanted to work on my body, add muscle, and do what I needed to get better. “The other stuff is going to take care of itself. I really believe that. Just worry about getting better.’’

In a sense, Mirotic knows he’s left plenty on the table as far as his play through the years and seems to be content with playing with a sense of freedom as the season concludes, whether he’s back with the Bulls or not for next year and beyond. “I just wanna leave a good impression for the Bulls,” Mirotic said. “Whatever decision they make. It’s been a pleasure. A lot of people dream to be here, I was one of those guys when I was in Europe. I was really like, I wanna go there and play for the Bulls. The history they have. For me, it’s a dream come true. Whatever decision they make, I make, whatever. I don’t know. The years here have been great. I know it’s been up and down. It’s been a pleasure and I just wanna finish right.”
2 years ago via ESPN

Mirotic said he wasn’t trying to focus on the future and has noted several times both he and his family enjoy Chicago. But he said he can see the writing on the wall and understands that his future very likely won’t be with the Bulls, given that he is a free agent at the end of this season. “This season’s been hard,” Mirotic said. “It’s been very difficult for me to find a way to enjoy the game. There’s a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is me, too [and my play]. I understand that, I assume that part. So I only hope right now we can win some games, we can have that option to be in the playoffs.”

For two games, that rotation didn’t feature Nikola Mirotic. Paxson called on the third-year forward, whose contract is up after this season, to become more consistent. “Niko has a tendency to get down on himself to be honest with you,” Paxson said. “Sometimes as player, you have to say to yourself, ‘Enough is enough. I’m going to go out and compete and work on my game.’ A lot of this is on the individual. Niko is a great guy. He has the ability to get better.”

Nilola Mirotic wants to stay in Chicago

Recently, Nikola Mirotic and his wife decided they wanted to learn how to speak Greek. They picked this language mostly because it’s a difficult one to master. Never mind that Mirotic already speaks Serbian, Spanish and English. “I like challenges,” Mirotic said. That’s one of the main reasons Mirotic said he wants to stay in the NBA next season rather than return to the safety net of playing professionally in Europe when his three-year, $16.6 million deal expires after this season.

Although Nikola Mirotic was selected in the first round in 2011, Chicago was able to find a loophole in the CBA and pay him more than his rookie salary slot. Mirotic, who played in Europe after being drafted, arrived in Chicago before the 2014-15 season. League rules stipulate that teams can sign a first-round pick with either cap space or a salary exception when a player is three years removed from being drafted. In Mirotic’s case, the Bulls were able to sign him to a three-year contract using cap space.
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December 10, 2018 | 9:48 am EST Update
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56 mins ago via ESPN
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57 mins ago via ESPN
Interestingly, Jimmy Butler and Brown agreed in separate interviews Sunday that the Sixers’ offensive spacing is fine. Butler has flourished here since arriving Nov. 12, having scored 38 points in each of the past two outings. “I think the spacing is great,” Butler said. “I think we have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket. We just have to pick and choose where we’re going to be at a certain time. As long as we keep sharing the ball the way that we share the ball and guarding, I’m telling you, we’re going to win.
As for Embiid, Butler can empathize with having to adjust on the fly. “I know where his heart is, man,” Butler said. “I can feel for him. It’s new for myself. It’s new to him. It’s new to everybody. But we’re O.K. I know he wants to win. “He’s frustrated. He wanted to play (Friday and) coach didn’t let him play. We need him. He’s been doing a lot on both ends of the floor for this team. As our best player, I can understand him being frustrated. We’ll figure out ways to make sure he’s successful.”
But here they are, still together. Perhaps it’s because of Wade’s nature. Those who know him well will tell you he takes after his grandmother, who helped raise him and was extremely giving, accepting and forgiving. To be James’ friend for any length of time, maybe it requires a person whom James respects, but also someone who is willing to deal with the challenges James’ personality brings with it. Wade is one of the greatest players in NBA history; James certainly respects that. And Wade has been willing to roll with James’ changing moods and desires over the years. If Wade has ever held any grudge, it has never been apparent.
57 mins ago via ESPN
And Lillard, 28, is something of a media chaos agent: He had the NBA watchers watching him this summer as he broke news of reporters changing jobs, reminding them — occasionally by force — that no one at this level is in the business of keeping secrets. “Nobody knew where I was getting my information from,” Lillard would recall, and the power and insider knowledge was at times intoxicating.