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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Joe Cowley

Bulls veteran DeMar DeRozan focused on teammates currently available

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — DeMar DeRozan would love to see Lonzo Ball (left knee) walk through the door and declare he’s ready to return.

DeRozan just isn’t counting on it.

The same can be said about Javonte Green (right knee) and Goran Dragic (illness).

For DeRozan, it’s out of sight, out of mind.

“That’s exactly been my mindset my entire career, before I was in the NBA, everything,’’ DeRozan said Thursday. “That’s been my whole approach to life. That’s what makes things so much more difficult, when you carry that type of weight on you. Whatever cards you’re dealt with, let’s figure it out. I’m going to figure it out the best way I can.

“With limited resources, I’ve seen the greatest things created. That’s just my mindset when it comes to everything, so I don’t really get caught up in waiting on [Shaquille O’Neal] to walk through that door to help us. I don’t even think like that. You can be waiting forever for something like that.’’

That also explains why DeRozan doesn’t get caught up in deadline talk or trade rumors. He believes in riding with the guys that are available to play that given night.

That’s another reason why DeRozan isn’t the type to go to his front office and ask about trade possibilities or even what executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas might be thinking about as far as roster changes.

DeRozan said he has never done that since arriving in the NBA.

He’s also sold on the idea that the Bulls’ “Big Three’’ — DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic — have been finding a groove in the last month and didn’t see any reason to break that up.

“We still feel like we can get a lot better,’’ DeRozan said. “Just getting more comfortable at both ends and leading these guys.

‘‘Coach [Billy Donovan] always said it, always challenged us every single day that it starts with us [three]. We’ve been taking on that challenge every day whether it’s practice or film. And we try to carry that over to the game.’’

Stars aligning

DeRozan and LaVine will have to wait until Feb. 2, when the reserves will be announced, to see if they’re All-Stars again.

The starters were named before the Bulls played the Hornets, and there were few surprises.

Giannis Antetokounmpo headlined the Eastern Conference and will be a captain. Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell also made it from the East.

LeBron James will once again be a captain, and Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson and Nikola Jokic also made it from the Western Conference.

The starters were chosen by fans, players and a panel of media members. The reserves will be selected by the 30 NBA head coaches.

LaVine and DeRozan made the All-Star Game last season in Cleveland.

Waiting for help

The Bulls were still short-handed, but help was on the way.

Donovan said Dragic was able to practice in Chicago on Thursday and was expected to fly to Orlando to meet the team.

Green was on this trip and even passing the ball to teammates in shooting drills during the shootaround. But he’s still a week or two away from getting on a bike and testing the mobility of his injured knee.

Donovan said they would have a better feel for his return once Green can clear that obstacle.

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