Bulls Resisting Buyout For Robin Lopez

The Bulls are adamantly opposed to negotiating a buyout with Robin Lopez, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. According to Haynes, Lopez’s representation has been in talks with Bulls management since late December about a possible exit strategy for the veteran center. However, the team intends to stand firm.

While the Bulls aren’t opposed to parting with Lopez, they remain focused on trading him for an asset, rather than losing him for nothing, Haynes writes. That could be tricky — while Lopez has an expiring contract, his $14.36MM cap hit will make it difficult to move him for anything of value without taking back any future salary.

If Lopez is bought out and/or waived at some point, the Warriors would be his next team, sources tell Haynes. The center position has been an area of some concern for Golden State this season, but the Dubs will be getting DeMarcus Cousins back very soon and they look like locks to land Lopez as well if he reaches free agency at some point during the season.

“I think it’s an appealing situation for just about anybody in the league,” Lopez told Haynes when asked about the Warriors. “You go there, they share the ball, they play defense, they play the right way. But right now, that’s something we’re aspiring to do here. And there’s a certain joy in trying build a culture like that, and I appreciate being a veteran in that position of helping shepherd a team towards that point.”

It makes sense that the Bulls would keep all their options open up until the February 7 trade deadline. Early-season buyouts – like the ones negotiated by Tyson Chandler and Austin Rivers in Phoenix – are somewhat rare, with veteran buyouts typically happening between the trade deadline and March 1.

It’s not clear whether the Bulls will continue to maintain a hard-line stance with Lopez if they’re unable to find a suitable trade. The team values his leadership, as Haynes notes, and is of course under no obligation to do a favor for the defending champions. However, allowing Lopez to join a contender rather than keeping him on a lottery-bound roster could buy Chicago some league-wide goodwill with veterans and agents.

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9 thoughts on “Bulls Resisting Buyout For Robin Lopez

  1. Freddie Morales

    I can’t stand buy-outs. Why would teams like the warriors make trades knowing that they can get a productive player at no cost? Not good for the league. It doesn’t happen in baseball or football. You stick with the team you started the season with or get traded.

      • Waivers aren’t the issue. It’s releasing a guy with a guaranteed contract (for an equivalent or almost equivalent buyout amount) after he’s cleared them. It rarely happens in other sports; and, other than guys cut for misbehavior like domestic violence and the like they don’t involve valuable players.

        The very different NBA salary cap and luxury tax rules make it so in the NBA. Lopez can’t simply be traded to the Warriors for a 2nd round pick, without matching contracts. Even if he could be, the Warriors wouldn’t pay luxury tax on the full guaranteed/paid amount under that contract (regardless of whether they or the Bulls paid it).

    • Buyouts are basically the equivalent of releasing a player. The only difference is that in a buyout, a player is usually taking less money than what their contract says they are owed in order to become a free agent. Its still dead money on the books so the team buying out the player won’t see a lot of cap savings, but its something. Realistically if the Bulls just outright released Lopez it would be the same as buying him out except they wouldn’t have any chance of saving some money from his deal. That’s why teams just buyout players so they can at least get something back.

  2. If the Warriors are confident they’ll land Lopez it would be interesting to see if they’d be willing to include Bell or Looney in a trade for wing/guard depth. Much has been made about their lack of center depth since the Jones injury but with Lopez and Cousins healthy they’d have 6 players (Lopez, cousins, looney, green, bell, jerebko) who play exclusively at the 4 and 5 plus another 3 combo forwards (Durant, iguodala, mckinnie) who might all be better as 4s than as true wings. Add in another tall guard in Livingston who doesn’t shoot from outside at all and a rookie in Evans who Kerr clearly doesn’t trust to play any meaningful minutes and the perimeter depth looks pretty thin.

  3. Djones246890

    There’s no intelligent reason to buy him out. He’s a good trade chip. Trade him for tough talent.

  4. yoyo137

    As always the Bulls are asking for too much and causing a problem when there doesn’t need to be one by benching players because their organization from to top down is too incompetent to build a winning team so they have to tank AGAIN. Trade him for the first decent offer and let the guy play basketball.

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