Today is the final day players currently under contract can be waived and still eligible for the playoffs with another team. But it sure doesn’t sound as if Lopez – who’s due $3,325,806 the rest of the season – will hit free agency.
“It’s been so much fun playing with these guys,” Lopez said. “It’s something I want to be a part of the rest of the season.”
“There’s something to be said for doing things a certain way,” he said. “It’s really cool what we’re trying to build here right now. I think we have some great pieces on all levels — coaching level, player level. We’re coming together to do something really special.”
Teams often insist they won’t buy out a player… until they buy him out. It’s part of the standard negotiation.
But if a player thinks a buyout is actually in play, he usually won’t talk like this.
I’m unconvinced Lopez is totally content remaining in Chicago. But I believe he now knows that’s where he’ll spend the rest of the season and is trying to make the best of it.
He’s had his frustrations with the Bulls, who fall among the NBA’s worst teams. The 30-year-old Lopez would probably rather play for a winner at this stage of his career.
But he likely won’t join a better team until his contract expires this summer.