Bulls Were Apparently Hesitant to Have Goran Dragic Play in EuroBasket

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Bulls Were Apparently Hesitant to Have Goran Dragic Play in EuroBasket

Chicago Bulls

Goran Dragic recently confirmed that he plans to participate in the 2022 EuroBasket competition that tips off next month. The Chicago Bulls’ new point guard will team up with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic in an effort to defend Slovenia’s title.

As the reigning tournament MVP, the hope was always for Dragic to return to action for his home country. However, now 36 years old, there were questions about whether or not the aging one-time All-Star would choose to suit up with another grueling NBA season on the horizon. And it sure sounds like the Bulls were hoping the answer would be no.

In a recent interview with Eurohoops, Dragic implied that his new team suggested he not participate in the tournament: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides,” Dragic said.

Again, considering Dragic’s age and the fact he appeared in just 21 games last season, it’s not unexpected to hear the organization preferred he stay in the states. The Bulls know they could find themselves in a position where they have to rely on Dragic’s services due to Lonzo Ball’s sketchy injury history. Indeed, as different as Ball and Dragic might be at the position, he supplies a proven 3-point shot and another steady playmaking hand. His 14 years of experience can be a necessary asset for this young Bulls team, and the fewer miles he has on his body going into his first season in Chicago the better.

Arturas Karnisovas and Co. can take at least some solace in knowing that Dragic understands he will not be able to play the same role for Slovenia this time around. Not only will Doncic be there to take a lot of the pressure off his shoulders, but Dragic simply isn’t the All-Star-level player he was back in 2017.

In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. 

Doncic should have all the right in the world to suit up for his country, and I’m glad he will. But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t worried alongside the Bulls’ coaching staff. We already know Dragic expects to play a real role for the team this season, so the last thing we want is for tired legs to creep in sooner than expected.

You can read the full interview with Dragic below:

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.