LOS ANGELES — Shedding is taking its toll on the Chicago Bulls. In the course of the crew’s Monday practice in Santa Monica, Robin Lopez made an aggressive play on Kris Dunn, main the 2 to exchange words. Lopez, seemingly offended, left practice for 15 minutes to cool off earlier than returning.
Whereas robust, chippy practices will not be out of the abnormal within the NBA, the Bulls are in a very tenuous scenario. Chicago has misplaced seven straight video games, together with a 37-point loss to Golden State, and it has but to discover its identification underneath coach Jim Boylen, who took over from Fred Hoiberg in December.
“We had a really, very aggressive practice,” Boylen mentioned. “I felt like we had some guys who’re sick of not profitable video games.”
Dunn agreed, including that whereas the crew is staying constructive, being tied for second to final within the league is draining.
“It’s irritating to be on a shedding streak,” Dunn mentioned. “We are attempting to work out methods to get that monkey off our again.”
Lopez politely declined to communicate with reporters on Monday, however Boylen mentioned Lopez advised him his discontent stems from not taking part in as many minutes as he had in earlier seasons.
“I am going to play some totally different individuals,” Boylen mentioned. “He has obtained satisfaction and he desires to play, however he is all for the crew and he understands. You do not all the time anticipate guys to be proud of their scenario or their minutes or no matter. That is not a part of this league. What’s a part of this league is you could have to do what’s finest for the crew. Rolo has all the time completed that.”
The Bulls are working to get at least a second-round decide in a commerce for Lopez and his $14 million expiring contract. However there have additionally been rumors of a doable buyout because the Feb. 7 commerce deadline approaches. If groups sense that Lopez might be purchased out, there’s much less of an incentive to hand over a draft asset earlier than the deadline.
The Bulls would probably solely settle for one other expiring contract again for him in a commerce, and getting the cash to match up with Lopez’s wage presents a problem. For now, the Bulls place is that they plan to maintain Lopez for the season, barring a commerce, due to the veteran management he gives on a younger crew. However the scenario seems fluid.
“He mentioned it isn’t sporting on him,” Boylen mentioned of buyout conversations. “Rolo is a aggressive individual, he is a good teammate, and I’m grateful he’s on this crew. If one thing occurs, one thing occurs.”
Bulls common supervisor Gar Forman and Lopez’s representatives with Wasserman Media Group have had a number of conversations on the difficulty. Within the meantime, Boylen has tried to present the Bulls examples of their stretches of strong play throughout the shedding streak.
“Our purpose is to play aggressive basketball and break by,” Boylen mentioned. “And I believe not breaking by is the place a few of the frustration comes.”