- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Carlos Boozer has been around the NBA long enough to know that rumors about a player's future are going to happen all the time. It's how a player deals with them that he believes is more important.
"It's just part of the business," Boozer said after Monday's practice. "Twelve years in the league, you're going to hear rumors about you or your teammates. I've been through it a thousand times. It's just something you deal with. Just kind of block everything out and just try to hoop. Get your team as high up as you can. Whatever happens is going to happen, it's part of the business. This is the business side of basketball that a lot of fans don't understand, a lot of media don't understand. But that's part of the business."
The New York Daily News, citing league sources, reported over the weekend that the Bulls will try to trade Luol Deng and use the amnesty clause on Boozer's contract, which will be $16.8 million next season. The Bulls and Deng, who will be a free agent this summer, could not come to terms on a contract extension last summer and decided to put off any potential talks until after the season.
"That's the nature of this league," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of the rumors. "There's always something. Whether it's a contract, usually when you get close to the trade deadline, you hear about a lot of stuff then. And you're in control of that -- whether you're going to allow that to impact you in a negative way. But there's always talk about something and that's the challenge of this league, not to get distracted, to concentrate on the things that are necessary to win. You're a professional player, so the same things go into winning, establish your routine. The things that you have no control over don't worry about it."
The name that continues to pop up in trade speculation is that of Deng, who has been mentioned in trade talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers for center Andrew Bynum, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
Thibodeau knows that Bulls general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president John Paxson have to do what they feel is in the best interest of the team.
"Normally this time of the year you hear a lot of stuff anyway, and that's what their job is, to see what's going on in the league," Thibodeau said. "And they field calls all the time. If a player is a good player you're going to get more calls about him. And that's all part of it. They're not actively seeking to move anybody, but they're always looking to see if we can improve our club. And if something makes sense then they'll consider it. But that's what they do."
Thibodeau said if a trade possibility gets serious, Forman and Paxson will bring him into the discussion.
"But they have their job to do as well," he said. "I don't know every conversation that goes on. If something is interesting and they think I should know, they'll come to me and they'll ask me what I think about it. And that's the way it's supposed to be. I concentrate on the guys we have here. That's my job -- to think about our next opponent. Think about how we can win with the team that we have. So whoever we have that's all I think about."
Boozer, who missed his first game of the season on Saturday because of a sore knee, insists that after all this time in the NBA, his feelings toward all the rumors haven't changed even in a season in which the Bulls lost Derrick Rose to another season-ending knee surgery.
"It's still the same," Boozer said. "A lot of rumors are rumors and nothing ever happens. Sometimes things do happen, but it's out of your control so you really can't worry about it too much ... We hear it every year anyway. It don't matter."
Bulls guard Jimmy Butler said he doesn't follow all the chatter from the outside.
"I don't pay any attention to any of that," Butler said. "I can only control what I can and that's what I do out there. And each and every one our guys can only control what they can control. I feel like when you start reading into that you start getting biased about things and it may change the way that you think and the way that you play. So if you keep your eyes off of that stuff you have nothing to worry about."
As Thibodeau left his post-practice media session, he was asked what names have interested him up to this point in any conversations with Bulls personnel. His answer summed his feelings regarding the entire situation.
"The ones that I have," he said. "That's where my interest lies."