The Bulls don’t do many good things. Since the days of Michael Jordan and arguably the best team of all time, there have been a lot of bumps in the road. D-Rose’s knee explosion, The LeBron-Heat being a thing during a stretch of great Bulls teams, Gar-Pax botching every move possible, and many more. Throughout so much frustration and utter stupidity, the Bulls may have found something here. They unloaded known asshole Jimmy Butler for a trove of young talent (Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Kris Dunn), drafted Wendell Carter, traded for Otto Porter, and have some pieces that could mold into a formidable team in a few years. Although all of these moves have been great, one move in particular stands out to me.
On December 3rd they fired Fred Hoiberg (I’d give them credit for this but the fact that they hired him in the first place and stuck by him for this long is too much of a red flag). From there they appointed associate head coach Jim Boylen as the leader of this train and it got off to a rocky start.
After getting drubbed by the Celtics by 56 on December 8th, LaVine and other players staged a mutiny against Boylen due to him scheduling a practice the morning after. They went to management and tried to boycott the practice until eventually being steered in the right direction by Lauri and Robin Lopez. Long story short…they hated this dude. All he did was yell at them to play defense, ran them into the ground at practice, and wanted some accountability. It was the ultimate clash of old school and new school. Even though the Bulls haven’t won many games this season, and most nights are just another step in getting to the off-season, something big happened this weekend.
After a few hard screens by Montrezl Harrell, Boylen let the refs hear about it, got ejected, and proceeded to put on quite the sideshow.
What a surreal scene that was after all of the stuff this team has went through with Boylen this season. He literally went up to every single player on the team and gave them some love before walking back to the locker room. The players were LOVING it and it seems like they’ve changed their tune on Boylen. Specifically, Zach LaVine.
Remember that mutiny I said was staged? Zach LaVine was the leader of that coo and throughout the year has been vocal about his disagreements with Boylen. The next day, as if this whole situation wasn’t already surprising, news came out that LaVine was granted permission to pay Boylen’s fine. That thud you just heard was me falling out of my chair.
What an absolute hoss this Jim Boylen fella is. If I were the Bulls I think I’d overreact and offer him a blank check with a contract for life. In a league where players regularly undermine their coaches and seem to run more out of town than ever before, this is a refreshing change. It’s clear that all he wanted was for them to get better and he gave them a lot of tough love. He has their backs and showed that he’ll always stand up and fight for his guys no matter what has gone down in the past. They clearly appreciate it and when asked about the situation LaVine had this to say:
Incredible stuff. On the onset, it doesn’t seem like a big deal that an armpit of the NBA had some strides in camaraderie. In reality however, this could be a huge step for this rebuild and something that could propel them closer to relevance. LaVine’s a baller, Lauri has potential, and they even could snag the number one pick in this year’s draft. Couple that with a coach who the players would die for and you have a situation most teams in this league would kill for. Gar-Pax could indeed pee in the punch bowl and mess this all up, but for now, things are looking up in Chi-Town.