Robin Lopez is among several Bulls players reporting for training camp who may not be with the team all season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times. The veteran center is an attractive trade chip with a $14.3MM expiring contract. First-rounder Wendell Carter seems destined to become the starting center at some point, and Lopez doesn’t fit in with Chicago’s rebuilding project at age 30.
Lopez was sent to the bench late last season as part of the Bulls’ tanking effort. Cowley relays that he was upset about the move, but refused to complain publicly about not playing.
“It was rough for me, but I get it, I understood it,’’ Lopez said. “I always want to be out there playing on the court. I want to be playing obviously, but we’ve got a great group of guys here. I think the future is bright and I think I can be a part of it in some way.’’
Cowley identifies free agent addition Jabari Parker as another player who could be moved by the trade deadline. With a $20MM team option for next season, Parker could be seen as a low-risk addition for a contending team.
There’s more today from the Central Division:
- The Bucks shouldn’t be overlooked as a possible destination for Jimmy Butler, tweets Darren Wolfson of Eyewitness 5 News in Minneapolis. Butler went to Marquette and still has ties to the Milwuakee area, Wolfson notes, plus the Bucks are moving into a new arena and would have a shot at winning the East with Butler on board.
- Christian Wood received a $100K guarantee in his training camp deal with the Bucks, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Milwaukee already has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, so Wood will be competing for the final roster spot with Tyler Zeller, Shabazz Muhammad and Tim Frazier.
- At age 59, Stan Van Gundy doesn’t feel ready to retire, but his wife doesn’t want him to coach anymore, relays Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Van Gundy is without a job as training camp opens after the Pistons fired him as head coach and president of basketball operations in May. “I don’t care who you are, what job you are in, when you’ve worked at something for a long time and tried to become good at it and everything else, it’s not easy to walk away — particularly when it’s not on your own terms,” Van Gundy said. “Kim’s major thing is that I’m not happy [during seasons]. You don’t need to do it, so why are you going to do something that doesn’t make you happy.”