Bulls Notes: Vucevic, Beverley, White, Ball, Williams

Bulls center Nikola Vucevic and guard Patrick Beverley exchanged words over a blown defensive assignment during Wednesday’s win over Detroit, prompting DeMar DeRozan to step in and smooth things out.

Following the argument, a source told Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that Vucevic “hasn’t been thrilled with some of the recent finger-pointing” among Bulls players (not just Beverley). However, when he spoke about the exchange on Friday, Vucevic said it was “way blown out of proportion,” telling reporters that it was “honestly no big deal at all,” as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays.

“It was just arguing in the moment,” Vucevic said. “It wasn’t that big a deal. We talked about it. It happens every game. People always make a big deal out of when players argue on the court. That’s part of the game. We’re competitors. We’re trying to make the right play. Sometimes you don’t agree on the same thing in the moment. Talk it out and it’s over with. We never talked about it after.”

Asked whether he feels singled out for defensive lapses, Vucevic expressed some self awareness about his shortcomings on that end of the court, acknowledging that defense is “not the strongest” part of his game. However, he added that he believes he does some things well defensively.

“I always try to do my best at that end,” the big man said. “It’s something I’ve very aware of. I know what my limitations are on the floor and I try to stick to my strengths.”

Here’s more on the Bulls, who lost additional ground in the play-in race on Friday when they fell at home to Kevin Durant and the Suns:

  • In a column for NBC Sports Chicago, Johnson makes the case for why the Bulls should sign Coby White to a new contract when he reaches restricted free agency this summer. White has shown growth this season as a defender and ball-handler, according to Johnson, who adds that the fourth-year guard has never questioned or complained about his inconsistent role. Johnson wonders if a three- or four-year deal in the range of $12-14MM per year would make sense for both sides.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said this week that he has been given no indication that Lonzo Ball‘s knee issues are career-threatening, but understands why that question has come up. “The point is well taken. It has been over a year, and he’s still not running,” Donovan said, per Cowley. “… I just feel really bad for him, and the problem is we’ve had a hard time getting it resolved. And there have been a lot of medical people involved. Doctors trying to figure out what is going on, what is causing the pain? Basically getting him to a place where he can run and do certain things athletically.”
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic takes a closer look at the off-court development occurring this season for former lottery pick Patrick Williams, who is becoming more confident and “finding his voice” in the Bulls’ locker room. “I just think it comes with me growing as a person and as a player,” Williams said. “Being more comfortable in who I am and being more comfortable in what I can be, that’s a huge part of it. Just feeling like I know what I can be and realizing my potential.”
  • In case you missed it, the Bulls filled the open spot on their 15-man roster on Friday by promoting Carlik Jones from his two-way contract.
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