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Nikola Mirotic: Potential Trade Has Been ‘motivation’

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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

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Sources: Kings Interested in Harrison Barnes

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The Sacramento Kings have interest in trading for Harrison Barnes.

Barnes future with the Dallas Mavericks is uncertain. Barnes has a player option for the 19-20 season worth $25.1 million.

“I know the Kings would love to have Harrison Barnes,” said Brian Windhorst on the Hoop Collective podcast. “Whether or not that can work out? I don’t know.”

The Kings are making a push for the playoffs and do not own their first round pick, while the Mavericks have been a free fall and a have a top-5 protected pick.

Source: Brian Windhorst of ESPN via RealGM

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Report: NBA to Televise All-Star Draft on February 7

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The NBA announced today that the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft will be televised by TNT on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.  The team rosters for the 68th NBA All-Star Game will be revealed during a special NBA All-Star Draft Show, which will be followed by an extended version of the TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pregame show.

The two NBA All-Star Game team captains will draft the rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference, making their selections regardless of conference affiliation. The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.  More details about the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft will be announced at a later date.

The NBA also announced today the third fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2019 presented by Google.  The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James continues to lead the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo remains on top in the Eastern Conference.

Source: NBA

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Gregg Popovich: ‘I don’t know’ on Coaching Next Season

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Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs will soon become the fourth 70-year-old coach in N.B.A. history, but he remains undecided about coaching the Spurs beyond this season.

Popovich, who turns 70 on Jan. 28, is in the last season of a five-year contract extension he signed after the Spurs won their most recent championship in 2014.

“I don’t know the answer,” Popovich said when asked about his plans for next season in an interview Wednesday night after the Spurs’ 105-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Popovich said he and R.C. Buford, San Antonio’s longtime team president, have periodically discussed the club’s various options after this season.

Source: Marc Stein of The New York Times

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