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Nikola Vucevic keeps focus despite persistent trade rumors: "If it happens, it happens. If not, it is what it is."

By Stephen Beslic,

2023-02-01

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Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic opens up about the trade rumors that have followed him all season long.

Trades are a normal part of a professional athlete's life. In the NBA, rumors about trades often spread like wildfire and can cause a great deal of anxiety for players. Nikola Vucevic, however, isn't letting trade speculation disrupt his focus on the court. The Chicago Bulls center has been linked to several trade speculations throughout the season, and yet he continues to put up impressive numbers as he tries to rally his team into playoff contention.

"Every year is the same; all these rumors, and very few of them actually happen. For me personally, I've been around for a long time. If it happens, it happens. If not, it is what it is," said the 32-year-old big man .

Part of the job

Vucevic is in his 12th season in the Association—his third with the Bulls—and he is well aware that trades, even the rumored ones, are basically just a part of the job in the NBA. And while getting traded can be a stressful experience, the Montenegro-born player is ready for it if and when it comes. And so, he just turns a blind eye to all the trade talk and focuses on doing his job—which he has been doing to the best of his ability all season long.

"I don't pay attention to that. I've been in the league for a long time now. I've been involved in two trades. It's part of it," Vucevic said.

"Obviously, it's not easy when you get the call telling you you're traded. Obviously, everything changes for you. But there's really nothing you can do about it. If you think about it, you're just going to make it harder on yourself. Try to brush it aside as much as you can and focus on playing. That will help you."

Tricky spot

Vucevic finds himself in a tricky position this season. Playing in the final year of his contract, the two-time All-Star will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the Bulls—if they don't agree on an extension soon—could look to trade him in order to get something in return instead of letting him walk away for nothing.

For the moment, though, Vooch isn't letting any of this distract him from his ultimate goal—to help keep the Bulls in the hunt for a playoff spot. He has been averaging 17.6 points and 11.1 rebounds this season and is in the top 10 for most double-doubles. A consummate professional, Vucevic has been putting up these numbers despite the constant trade rumors buzzing around him.

"It's out of your control. It's nothing you can really do about it. The front office makes those decisions if they want to make any moves or not. So as a player, you try to shut that off and focus on what you can control, which is the way you're playing," added Vucevic.

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