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Bulls coach Jim Boylen ‘would be grateful’ to have Robin Lopez back next season

Robin Lopez, Jim Boylen

The Chicago Bulls are fully embracing a youth movement. Despite the team finally embarking on that long path back toward championship contention, though, the Bulls apparently still have use for a veteran voice in the locker room – and wouldn’t mind if Robin Lopez was the one to provide it.

“It’s his decision, but any program, including us, would be grateful for him,” coach Jim Boylen said of Lopez, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “If he wants to be a part of what we’re doing that would be great. Obviously the business side of it is the business side of it, but Bulls across his chest means something. Even through all the trade rumors, all the junk that goes on before the deadline, he has a winning attitude and a great spirit.”

Most expected Lopez to be bought out by the Bulls some time after the new year. The 11th-year veteran even went so far as to choose the Golden State Warriors as his next prior to being bought out, according to multiple reports. Instead, Chicago elected against both waiving him and shipping him out of town at the trade deadline, apparently content to let young bigs Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter, Jr. learn from one of the league’s most respected big men.

Lopez signed a four-year, $54 million deal with the New York Knicks as a free agent in 2015. He was traded to the Bulls in a multi-player deal involving Derrick Rose the following summer. The 30 year old, averaging 7.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in just 17.8 minutes per game this season, will hit free agency again come June.