Justin Holiday

The Bulls are switching course after getting chided by NBA


The Bulls are switching course after getting chided by NBA

Mum’s the word at Bulls shootaround Wednesday, aside from the revelation Justin Holiday will start against the Memphis Grizzlies while Robin Lopez will be inactive before the plan shifts for weekend road games in Detroit and Atlanta.

A good talking-to from the NBA league office put this plan in motion for the Bulls to modify their route of sitting Holiday and Lopez to evaluate their younger players for the rest of the season.

Whether it was the NBA trying to prevent the appearance of tanking or other teams complaining about the Bulls — believing the aim is to improve lottery positioning — the Bulls are switching course.

“I just know they said, 'Justin you're playing today,' and that's what I'm here to do. Just stay ready and do what I'm supposed to do,” Holiday said. “I know we're still trying to play the young guys, I understand that. I'm pretty sure I'm not playing 35 minutes.”

The rest guidelines were put in place with the intention to stop marquee teams from resting star players on nationally televised games, stipulating teams could only rest one healthy starter for a home game but not on the road.

As an unintended consequence, it’s affected the Bulls and it seems like they’ll proceed with playing Holiday and Lopez on the road but rest one for home games the rest of the season.

“We have a plan in place for minutes and rotations,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We plan on having both those guys start on the road trip. And then we’ll take it day by day.”

It becomes tricky because the guidelines don’t mandate how many minutes players should play and what consequences, if any, will be levied by the NBA. After all, they weren’t issued any official warning despite the initial report.

Holiday will start both halves, but Hoiberg wouldn’t elaborate on anything more. Holiday has been a vocal leader when things could’ve gone haywire early in the season and couldn’t help but laugh when bombarded with questions about league procedures affecting him being bounced around the lineup.

“The one thing I've learned about the NBA and things, you're not gonna understand everything,” Holiday said. “Just control what you can control. That goes from playing time to if you make a team or not to situations like that. It's all part of the business. I'm just here and what I'm paid for is to do my job.”

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Bulls Talk Podcast: The rookie impresses against the King


Bulls Talk Podcast: The rookie impresses against the King

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Will Perdue react to the Bulls loss to the Cavaliers and another impressive outing from Lauri Markkanen. Kendall compares Markkanen to a future Hall-of-Famer, plus why LeBron James will never leave the East, and the MVP-caliber start for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Also, is Jordan Bell’s success in Golden State a mark of failure for the Bulls? That and more on the latest edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers


Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Tuesday night tilt against the Cavaliers on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. LeBron James will be on your television

Love him or hate him, LeBron James is must-see TV. Now in his 15th NBA season, James has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite playing just one preseason game (against the Bulls), James has shown anything but rust in three games, averaging 25.0 points on 60 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in nearly 37 minutes. He's a threat every night to do something you've never seen on a basketball court, His Airness included. Justin Holiday and Paul Zipser will have their hands full against the game's best player.

2. Lauri Markkanen, Week 2

Small sample size alert! But through the season's first week Markkanen and Ben Simmons are the only rookies averaging a double-double (Dallas' Dennis Smith has played just one game, averaging 16 points and 10 assists). While the Bulls have struggled through two games, Markkanen's net rating is third best on the team and he leads the Bulls bigs in rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Markkanen has shown some versatility offensively, and his 7 free-throw attempts have been a nice surprise as well.

3. Don't forget: The Bulls swept the Cavaliers last year

OK, so expecting a victory Tuesday night in Cleveland isn't smart. The Bulls will be underdogs just like they were in each of the four games last season, all of which were Bulls winners. It was the first time in 52 division series that LeBron James had been swept, which is pretty remarkable considering the Bulls were the No. 8 seed and the Cavs coasted to a third straight NBA Finals. We're not over here predicting a win. But just remember: the Bulls have fared well against James in the regular season.