Outside of being a positive locker room presence, the Chicago Bulls don’t really have any need for veteran big man Robin Lopez. Yet the team remains steadfast in their determination not to negotiate a buyout with him.
According to a report from Chris Haynes, Lopez and his agent have been in discussions with the Bulls for a few weeks about a plan that would allow Lopez to leave — at which point he would sign with the Golden State Warriors. However, the Bulls do not want to buy him out and are still hopeful they can trade Lopez rather than letting him walk for nothing. Via Yahoo Sports:
The Chicago Bulls are adamant that they will not negotiate a buyout with center Robin Lopez, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lopez’s representation has been in discussions with the Bulls’ front office about an exit strategy since late December, sources told Yahoo Sports, but the franchise intends to stand firm.
If the Bulls were to change course and reach a buyout agreement with Lopez, the Golden State Warriors would be his next destination, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Bulls have been reluctant to part ways with the 30-year-old 7-footer, who happens to be the oldest player on their roster. They would rather part with Lopez via trade to get an asset, sources said.
Lopez noted that he is focused on his day-to-day work with the Bulls, and has not personally been involved in any of the potential buyout negotiations. Still, it’s clear that he would like to move on, and who can blame him?
Everyone knew the Bulls would struggle this season with their young roster, but injuries and a disastrous coaching change have turned the season into a nightmare. Coach Jim Boylen was just given even more support from the front office, despite the fact that it took less than a week after he was put in charge for the players to nearly stage a mutiny. And with a crowded frontcourt, Lopez isn’t really playing all that much. We’ll see if that changes on Tuesday when Lopez and the Bulls square off against the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET — Watch on FuboTV with NBATV add-on).
For Lopez, getting out of a bad situation in Chicago and joining the favorites for the NBA title is a no brainer. As for the Bulls, refusing to buy him out is a completely understandable sentiment to put out publicly. They’re still hopeful they can trade Lopez and get something of value in return, and admitting they’re open to a buyout would crater any potential trade talks.
You never know with the Bulls front office, but it seems like at some point this season Lopez will get his wish to move on, and their stance right now is just public posturing.
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