In an event that certainly shows just how much the relationship between Zach LaVine and Bulls head coach Jim Boylen has developed, Malika Andrews of ESPN reported that LaVine reached out to the Bulls front office and proposed that he pay the fines for the ejection he received on Friday night in Los Angeles.
The NBA is fun. pic.twitter.com/M7u4GcYICV— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) March 16, 2019
Boylen received the ejection after he got into a verbal spat with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. Boylen was sticking up for his players, after feeling that the screens being set by uber-physical LA forward Montrezl Harrell were dirty plays. Rivers disagreed wholeheartedly, and reportedly told Boylen to tell his players to call out screens better on defense.
Bulls coach Jim Boylen said he couldn’t remember being ejected during his career. Frustration came from 2nd hard screen by Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell. First one sent Ryan Arcidiacono to locker room. “They went after my second PG and I didn’t appreciate it. I let everyone know.” pic.twitter.com/n5NWLBkSlX— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 16, 2019
#Clippers’ Doc Rivers on what happened during his double ejection with #Bulls coach Jim Boylen. Boylen said the Clippers were dirty for the screens.— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) March 16, 2019
Doc responded - “Maybe you should turn to your players and tell them to call out screens.” pic.twitter.com/bpUTcmsDlQ
This is an awesome development for an extremely young and inexperienced Bulls roster that is trying to build a positive, long-lasting team culture.
LaVine and Boylen were always going to need to see eye-to-eye for the Bulls rebuild to be successful. The former received a 4-year, $78 million commitment that effectively made him the franchise player and the latter recently got a pay raise that put him in line with standard NBA head coach salaries, indicating he will be around for awhile (despite the rumors that do exist).
The LaVine-Boylen dynamic has come a long, long way in a short amount of time. Remember, when the reported “mutiny” almost went down back in December, LaVine was NOT mentioned as one of the players who pushed back against the idea of not showing up to practice.
But there was refuting claims of what went down that day, with Bulls President of Basketball Ops John Paxson pushing back against the idea that the Bulls players reached out to the NBA Players Association.
Either way, it was clear that the relationship between the players and Boylen was in a tumultuous place following Fred Hoiberg’s sudden, if not shocking, firing. But LaVine and Boylen have both shown that they are hard-working, intensely competitive personalities and Boylen’s capacity to stick up for his guys has definitely impressed LaVine.
Zach LaVine: "What Jim did I personally respect that a lot. He really cares about us and he’s going to fight for us; that shows his true character the way he feels about us."— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) March 16, 2019
The 2019 NBA Draft (and free agency) will be massively important for the Bulls rebuild. But Bulls Nation should be in good spirits, as nothing is more important than LaVine and Boylen having a great relationship, as it enables the franchise to truly take the next step towards being an Eastern Conference contender.