Bulls forward Niko Mirotic admits that all the trade speculation surrounding his future in Chicago has been a motivating factor for him as he continues the best stretch of his NBA career. Monday marked the first day of the season on which Mirotic could be traded.
“This is kind of some motivation for me,” Mirotic said after Monday’s 119-111 win over the Miami Heat. “I know it sounds weird. But people are talking, ‘OK, Niko be gone’ and ‘Bye bye, Niko’ or whatever. But for me, it’s OK, just do what you’ve got to do. Play well and try to do your best until the last day and not be distracted. I know a lot of people were asking me before this, ‘OK, Niko, Jan. 15’s coming, what do you think?’
“No, I’m not thinking about Jan. 15. I’m thinking day by day, doing my job, being consistent, everybody’s talking about that the last couple years, and that’s my goal. Because when I focus day by day, it’s for me easier.”
“I am enjoying this moment,” Mirotic said. “The team is winning. I am playing well. That’s all I can ask … I know my name is going to be there [in trade speculation]. But I’m doing my job, I’m sure [the Bulls front office is] doing their job, and we’re both going to do what’s the best for the team.”
Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
Chris Paul Says He’ll Pay Green’s Fine for Shove, Ejection
Chris Paul says he will pay any fine that results from teammate Gerald Green shoving Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 129-120 win Sunday night.
Green was ejected for coming to Paul’s defense after a frustrated Dieng pushed him down after a foul.
Celtics’ Smart (Thumb) Confident He’ll be Back for Playoffs
Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he’s confident he’ll be back on the court for the postseason after undergoing thumb surgery last week.
Smart suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right shooting hand while diving to the floor in a game against the Indiana Pacers earlier this month. A hand specialist in New York advised immediate surgery with hopes that Smart might be able to return even quicker than the six- to eight-week timeline the team announced after surgery.
Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN