Bulls Hold Meeting Following Blowout Loss

The Bulls held a players-only meeting on Sunday, just one day removed from a 133-77 blowout loss to the Celtics at home, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The coaching staff eventually joined the players to discuss the team’s status, with the meeting reportedly being led by Zach LaVine and Justin Holiday.

Bulls coach Jim Boylen refuted claims that players called for the meeting, despite multiple players conveying otherwise, Andrews reported in a separate tweet. The mixed messages come just one week after Boylen was promoted to head coach.

Boylen is respected across the league and is known as a longtime assistant who’s spent time on several NBA teams, including seasons under Gregg Popovich on the Spurs from 2013-15. He’s pushed his players to tough standards during long practices and expects the very best out of each of them.

“We’ve had some running . . . some running,” Zach LaVine said Friday, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s OK. [Boylen] wants to make his mark. You have to understand that. I think things will slow up as the season goes on.”

In some ways, Boylen’s approach resembles the hard-nosed, competitive nature that former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had. It can rub some players the wrong way, but it can also lead to success with the right pieces in place.

“Because I’m direct and honest, and they’re going to know exactly where they stand in every moment, every day,” Boylen said, according to Cowley. “The great guys I worked for, that’s what they do, and that’s what I want to do. These guys know that. They know how I operate, and I’ve operated that way since I’ve been here. Direct and honest. Nobody likes to be told the truth when it’s not good for them, but at the end of the day, they know deep down inside that it’s what they needed to hear.”

Boylen’s decision to pull his starting five less than three minutes into the second half on Saturday raised some eyebrows, but he ultimately felt the team wasn’t giving an acceptable effort.

“I think your play is embarrassing,” Boylen said after the game, according to Andrews. “… I worked for [Spurs head coach] Gregg Popovich. He subbed five guys a ton of times. Nobody says a word to him about it. He felt that was best for the team. I felt that was best for the team where we were at. I wanted to give the other guys a chance to see if they could right the ship a little bit. If I don’t like the five guys out there, if I don’t like the combination, I’m going to look at a new combination. Take them all out, let them sit there and think about it.”

The Bulls have played without Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis, both of whom are nursing injuries, but Boylen expects the team to work together and give a better effort going forward. Sunday’s extensive meeting allowed those on both sides to state their grievances and clear the air.

“I thought it was very productive,” center Wendell Carter Jr. said, as relayed by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “The big, main topic for that whole meeting was being truthfully honest and direct. I feel like everybody was very direct with one another, very honest. Everybody told each other how we really, really feel about what happened last night, how we feel about each other in terms of the team, how we feel about everybody as a whole.”

Chicago has games against the Kings, Magic and Spurs scheduled for the upcoming week. The Bulls hold a 6-21 record (second-worst in the league) through the season’s first 27 games.

newest oldest

9 thoughts on “Bulls Hold Meeting Following Blowout Loss

  1. PickleRiccck

    Looks like the Bulls are tanking this year. If they can’t at leas TV be a 40 win team next year they need serious changes. Because next year they should have C Wendell Carter, PF Lauri Markannen, SF maybe top 3 pick next draft, SG Zach LaVine, PG Kris Dunn. With a bench of Portis, Parker, Valentine, Hutchison, maybe FA. A lot of those players have had injury problems and before the season started, most Bulls fans thought it would be a step forward this year.

  2. zpgreen

    This team is so dysfunctional right now. The ineptitude of GarPax is astonishing, but at the end of the day, it sounds like the locker room just can’t fit it all together. Trying to plug a bunch of round holes with square pegs.

  3. Dave4585

    Is anyone surprised? Bulls were predicted to be one of the worst teams in the NBA.

  4. Jason Lancaster

    Remember when it was reported that Hoiberg “lost the team?” Seems like Boylen has the same problem, only worse.

    This team is awful. They need to buyout Parker, trade for a player that can compete with LaVine for minutes, and of sell the Bulls to the league like they did the clippers so new ownership can come in.

  5. x%sure

    I did not get that last sentence.

    As for getting Lavine some comp, someone elsewhere suggested making a RLopez/KCP/Ariza 3way trade. Oh wait

  6. I think the Bulls are beginning to turn the corner myself. Say what you will about Gar
    Forman but he inherited that “Dumpster Fire” he brought in Markkanen & Carter which will surely be All Stars for years to come.

    Personally I’m not a fan of Lavine nor do I think he’s worth the contract they gave him but he is 23 years old and is still very much learning the NBA game, if he commits to the defensive side of the ball he can be a valuable part to a team.

    As for Parker it was a gamble that hasn’t worked, that being said next year is a club option which will likely not be renewed.

    Dunn has had injury issues his entire career so I could see the Bulls spending a high pick this draft on another Point Guard if not they will most likely draft a player at Small Forward to replace Justin Holiday who is 29 years old and looking for a highest bidder deal come free agency.

    With Parker, Holiday and Lopez off the books that’s about 38M to play with so not to bad for a “Dumpster Fire”

    2019 should boast 3 top 10 draft picks in the starting line up with an All Star in Zach Lavine, and $$$ to bring in that last piece.

    Bold prediction: with all the injuries the Bulls have had this year and the offseason they should put together the Bulls return to the playoffs in 2019

Leave a Reply