Chicago Bulls find themselves in a massive hole this season, having a 6-21 record and tottering in last place in the Eastern Conference. Following the miserable start, the Bulls management decided to sack Fred Hoiberg.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the Bulls, reports of a mutiny brewing in Chicago are coming through.
The Bulls were humiliated by the Celtics on Saturday, when they suffered a massive 56 point defeat, the worst in their history.
— FOX Basketball (@FoxBasketball) December 10, 2018
The Dave Joerger rumors a few weeks ago seem like child's play compared to a reported Bulls player mutiny against new coach Jim Boylen ahead of Monday night's game in Chicago. https://t.co/rJfEblBehP pic.twitter.com/RW5iGrUYqx
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 10, 2018
Now, according to a report by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, a group of players debated over text message about boycotting Sunday’s practice following that drubbing on Saturday.
Head coach Jim Boylen had rested quite a few players for the loss against Celtics and came up with a bizarre reason to explain that move.
Boylen wanted his starters to be ready for practice on Sunday as according to Boylen the Bulls were anyway going to lose to Celtics.
“Why have them play in a game that’s going to be very difficult to win when the benefit to me is going to be practice tomorrow and get better,” Boylen said.
“So that was all premeditated to me in my mind. So I play them more, we lose tonight and can’t practice tomorrow, we double lose.” he added.
While the reason is practical, it was a little too practical for the players, who felt that the coach had given up even before the game.
The mutiny was being planned by a couple of players, but veteran players, particularly Robin Lopez and Lauri Markkanen wanted teammates to be a little more professional with respect to their behaviour. They confirmed the entire team to show up for practice on Sunday.
While there was no practice on Sunday, there was a players only meeting, which was then followed by a meeting with coaches and management.
“I think it was a collective thing,” Wendell Carter Jr spoke about the Sunday meeting.
“We both agreed on something, the players and the coaches. We came to them as men. We talked, told them how we felt. And they responded very well.” he added
Per multiple sources, players started a group text exchange debating whether to show up at practice facility today. They ultimately decided to show up and told coaching staff they wanted players only meeting, which was followed by the meeting with coaches.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 9, 2018
The players had insisted to meet instead of have practice and it was good that the management and the coaching staff agreed to a meeting, otherwise things could have worsened.
“Um. No. Ah, I think it was just a communication, a little bit of both,” Boylen said speaking about the entire incident.
“This is what I think is necessary today. And players felt they needed a voice and to talk too. And that’s cool. That’s good. This is a family thing. This is open lines of communication. We’re still learning about each other. I’ve moved over the 18 inches (from assistant coach’s chair). They’re still learning how I want it. There’s been a little shock and awe here in the last seven days. And there’s an adjustment to that. And that’s OK.” he added.
Zach Levine too spoke about the controversy, saying that the meeting was necessary as the players needed to get things off their chest.
“We needed to get a lot of stuff off our chest and be transparent,” Zach Levine said.
“I don’t think the players’ toughness should ever be questioned. I think that’s on us. I think that is a little bit of what we discussed in our meeting.” he added.