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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