Zach LaVine doesn’t mind lashing back at critics who said the Bulls made a mistake when they matched the four-year, $78MM offer sheet he received from the Kings last summer, relays K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. LaVine is posting career highs in scoring (23.7 PPG), rebounds (4.7) and assists (4.5) while shooting a career-high 46.7% from the field.
“Now it’s looking like I’m a pretty good deal, right?” he said.
The only thing that hasn’t improved for LaVine this season is his team’s won-loss record. After three years in Minnesota, Lavine was hoping to be part of a resurgence in Chicago when he was acquired in a trade two years ago. Instead, the Bulls are limping to the finish line at 22-58. LaVine promises next year will be different, health permitting.
“I haven’t played in a meaningful game in five years of my career, so it’s getting to the point where you really want to start looking past ‘self’ things and moving toward you want to win,” he said. “We’re in the right direction moving forward, but we have to make some changes individually and as a team to get to that point.”
There’s more today out of Chicago:
- Injuries have left the Bulls with a depleted roster, but Jim Boylen hasn’t changed his approach to coaching, Johnson tweets. Chicago started recently promoted G Leaguers Rawle Alkins and Walt Lemon in last night’s loss to the Sixers, along with Wayne Selden, Shaquille Harrison and Robin Lopez. “It’s not an option for me to coach only the established guys or whatever,” Boylen said. “I can’t be different than I’m asking them to be. I talk about when they step on the floor, no matter where you’re from or how much you money you make, you gotta compete. Well, I gotta be the same way.” (Twitter link).
- The results are good so far for Lauri Markkanen, who has been shut down for the rest of the season because of a rapid heart rate, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Boylen said Saturday that Markkanen has been working out while wearing heart monitors and all the medical tests have been encouraging. ‘‘We’re very positive about where he’s at and where he’ll be,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘He’s in great spirits. They’re still doing some daily evaluations of where he’s at.’’
- The Bulls changed the course of their franchise by trading away Jimmy Butler in 2017, but injuries have prevented them from assessing how their young core fits together, Johnson notes in a separate story.