Bogans upset but diplomatic about final days with Bulls

663984.png

Bogans upset but diplomatic about final days with Bulls

NEWARK Without knowing whether the University of Kentucky offers classes in international diplomacy, it seems that Keith Bogans is an expert. The veteran shooting guard took the high road when discussing his December release from the Bulls, though it was hard not to notice his frustration.

It was tough. Right now, Im at that point where I dont really care to talk about it anymore. Its a learning experience for me. I just looked at as Im going to turn it into a positive, make me work my expletive off and thats what I did. It was fun playing with them last year, but as far as that, Im done with it, Bogans said Monday evening at his new home arena, the Prudential Center.

I had a great time. I wouldnt trade it for the world. Won, what, 62 games, went to the Eastern Conference Finals, one of the best years of my NBA career. Definitely wouldnt take anything from that. Thats one of the best things to happen to me, last year.

I stay in contact with everybody on that team. All those guys hit me up, wanting to know How and why, and I cant answer that. I still cant answer that. when I signed, I got a call from all of them, congratulating me, saying Finally, and they were just happy to see me back playing again because nobody understood what happened, continued Bogans, who was pulled off the Berto Center floor on the first day of training camp, after being led to believe that he would return to the Bulls, who he didnt mention by name.

It is what it is. I dont keep up with them. Ive got a new team now. This is who I represent. It was Chicago last year. When youre in this business and you move around like I do, you get used to it. Put it behind you and move on.

But when asked if he felt disrespected by his former team, the current New Jersey Net let down the faade a bit.

Who wouldnt? Come on, were all men here first, he said. Were men before basketball players. I dont want to say the wrong thing, so Im going to be quiet and just let it go.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who also coached Bogans in Houston, praised his former player.

Keiths Keith. He does his job every night. Hes going to play great defense, said Thibodeau. Hes going to knock down open threes, brings a lot of toughness to the team and he fits in to what theyre doing.

Though Bogans wouldnt pretend the struggling Nets are a better situation than a title-contending Bulls squad, he has taken some positives out of the situation.

Its a new team for me. Im going forward. Im not looking back. Good young team, trying to rebuild and Im here to help the young guys get better, he said. I can bring a lot. I bring experience. One of the older guys in this locker room again, so Im teaching young guys. Its fun for me.

"Im not going to put any pressure on myself that Ive got to do this against them or do that. Im just trying to learn this system and get back in shape. Those are two main things that Im trying to do right now, continued Bogans, who wouldnt offer up any predictions for Mondays game though his facial expression spoke volumes about his new role. Im just happy to be back playing ball after sitting at home for a month-and-a-half, not knowing. To me, its a blessing that I got another opportunity to come here and play."

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.