The Bulls suffered their worst loss in franchise history on Saturday, falling to the Celtics by 56 points at the United Center. Head coach Jim Boylen pulled all five of his starters at once on two separate occassions, ultimately sitting them for the final 21 minutes of the game.
Boylen's move did not sit well with some players, with Zach LaVine expressing his frustration after the game. Boylen said holding a practice Sunday would be more valuable than playing his starters in a game that the team would ultimately lose anyhow.
According to a report, some players debated attending practice at all.
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
Per multiple sources, "veterans" were adamant in group text exchange that team show up today and have meetings. There were "two or three players" advocating not showing up.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 9, 2018
Ultimately, the players did show up to the Advocate Center, but two meetings were in place of a practice. While the plan was to practice, Wendell Carter Jr. said the players approached the coaching staff about holding a meeting instead.
"We both agreed upon something, the players and coaches," Carter Jr. said. "We came to them as men, we talked to them and told them how we felt, and they responded very well."
Carter Jr. said a players-only meeting was held first, with the players and coaching staff meeting together afterwards. LaVine and Justin Holiday led the meeting with the coaching staff, though Carter Jr. said every player and coach chimed in.
"I’m glad what we did today and I feel like it was very productive even though we weren’t on the court," he said. "We did some productive things in terms of having a meeting as a team."
"I think it was something that we needed to do and I’m happy with the results of it," LaVine said. "I think we just all needed to get on the same page. We needed to get a lot of stuff off our chest and be real, be transparent."
"This is what I think is necessary today and they felt they needed a voice and talk too," Boylen said. "And that’s cool, that’s good. This is a family thing, this is open lines of communication."
Carter Jr. would not reveal exactly what was said in the two meetings, only revealing that they were productive. He reiterated that the main topic of the meeting centered on the players and coaches being honest with one another about how they felt following Saturday night.
"I feel like everybody was very direct with one another," he explained, "Very honest and everybody told each other how we really, really felt about what happened last night, how we feel about each other in terms of team, how we feel about everybody as a whole."
LaVine said that the players and coaching staff are "100 percent" on the same page following the meeting, while Boylen mentioned there is an adjustment period going on since he was promoted to head coach.
"We’re still learning about each other. I’ve moved over the 18 inches and they’re still learning how I want it," he said. "There’s been a little shock and awe here in the last seven days. And there’s an adjustment to that, and that’s okay."