Tension between new Bulls coach Jim Boylen and his players boiled over Sunday. When Boylen called for a practice the day after a back-to-back, some players threatened to boycott. They ultimately compromised on a team meeting.
So, guard Zach LaVine met individually with Boylen.
“You just want to be real with people,” LaVine told ESPN. “There shouldn’t be any clouds. I think of myself as one of the leaders on the team. I just wanted to voice my opinion to them.”
“This is a business, this isn’t a dictatorship. We are all grown men, so everybody has a voice.”
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
“We had a situation over the weekend that could have been handled by a leadership group walking into my office and saying, ‘You know what, Coach? This is how we feel today. What do you think?’ That was the teaching moment,” Boylen said. “I’m juiced, man. I’m jacked up about it.”
A leadership committee sounds like the type of thing college teams have – which makes sense, because Boylen is treating the Bulls like a college team. Frequent and long practices. Harsh public criticism. Five-man substitutions. These are not normal power dynamics in the NBA.
Chicago players are already running thin on patience for Boylen. But he has plenty of job security. So, hopefully for everyone involved, he has learned as much as he indicates. He can’t keep coaching like this without inciting a mutiny.