Head coach Jim Boylen met with Zach LaVine today after the Bulls’ star complained about a lack of trust in last night’s game, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
In comments relayed by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, LaVine believed he was being singled out when Boylen removed him from Friday’s game after Miami built a 13-0 lead in the first 3:27. It was the latest in a series of slow starts that have contributed to Chicago’s disappointing 5-11 record.
“I thought, ‘He needs a break,’” Boylen said to reporters. “I thought he needed to come in and think about it. I felt there were some defensive mistakes that didn’t need to be made. I thought he needed to come over and think about it for a minute.”
But that’s not how it was interpreted by LaVine, who has experienced an uneven relationship with Boylen since he took over as head coach last December. LaVine saw the move as a personal slight and an indication that he doesn’t have the trust of the coaching staff.
“I feel I earned that trust, but I guess he feels differently,” LaVine said. “Other players around the league — and everybody’s situation isn’t the same — I feel other players around the league have that trust. I guess we haven’t got there.”
Along with the team’s poor record, it has been a difficult season on a personal level for LaVine, who doesn’t look comfortable in a new system that emphasizes three-point shooting. After putting up career-high numbers last year with 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per night, LaVine’s scoring average has fallen to 19.8 PPG this season and his shooting percentage from the field has dropped to 40.9%.
LaVine said he’s “trying my best” to maintain a good relationship with Boylen, but incidents like Friday’s make it challenging.
“I’m playing my minutes and trying to do the best I can do,” LaVine said. “It’s tough, especially when you’re in a rut. If he doesn’t trust me, it’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t trust you.”
Boylen told Johnson that he and LaVine had a “great talk” about the situation today and they share the “same goals” for the team. He added that “everything was explained” about what happened last night and LaVine was shown clips of the defensive mistakes that led to his brief benching. Boylen added that trust isn’t an issue (Twitter link).
LaVine said he was candid with Boylen in their meeting, stating, “I let him know how I felt. We had a misunderstanding. We still have a lot to work on as a team — personal, coaching. We all have to be accountable for our actions.” (Twitter link).
After being told that Boylen is holding him to a higher standard because he cares for him, LaVine responded, “That’s what he told me. To each his own. If that’s how he feels he has to coach me, that’s his prerogative. I can be coached any way. I don’t backlash a lot (Twitter link). But when I feel disrespected, sometimes I have to stand up for myself. We talked about the offense, the defense, personal stuff. I think it was good. We both want to win. If I’m not doing as good as I can do, it’s not gonna be good for team (Twitter link).
“If he feels he has to get on me to help that, I’m all for that. I want to be a winning guy. I haven’t won anything in the NBA. That’s why it gets frustrating (Twitter link).”