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
Sources: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard Expected to Agree to Four-Year Supermax Extension
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard would officially qualify for the supermax if he’s voted to one of the three All-NBA Teams, which is virtually a lock for the four-time All-Star.
Lillard has two years and approximately $62 million remaining on his current deal. The extension would put him under contract for the next six years, and he’d be 34 years old by the time the deal expires, perhaps solidifying his status as arguably the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.
According to rival executives, a new pact for Lillard would almost certainly include a player option, something the guard bypassed on his previous deal.
Source: Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports
Sources: Clippers ‘equally dangerous threat to Knicks’ to Sign Kevin Durant in Free Agency
As for the bigger-picture matter of Durant’s future: I am unafraid to announce, with no trace of hot-takery, that firm predictions about what Durant will do when free agency starts in 40 days are ill-advised.
Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.
Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York.
It leads one to conclude that maybe the best forecast, at least for the moment, is that nobody but Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman know.
Source: Marc Stein of The New York Times
Sources: Multiple Teams Expected to Pursue Tobias Harris in Free Agency
According to several sources, the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, and Brooklyn Nets are among the teams that will go after the forward in free agency. All five teams can offer maximum-salary contracts.
By trading for [Tobias] Harris, the Sixers acquired his Bird rights. That enables them to offer him a five-year, $188 million max contract.
Teams that don’t have his rights are only able to offer Harris a four-year, $141 million max contract in free agency. The Sixers will most likely have to offer the five-year maximum for him to stay.