The NBA is a business. But it’s also filled with people.
And sometimes, the cost of doing business involves shedding good ones.
The Chicago Bulls are thrilled to have added Lonzo Ball, who faces his former team Friday night when the New Orleans Pelicans invade the United Center. To acquire him in a sign-and-trade transaction, the Bulls sent Tomáš Satoranský and Garrett Temple to the Pelicans.
And if you want to a coach gush, just ask Billy Donovan about those two veterans, along with Thad Young, who was traded to the Spurs to help the Bulls acquire DeMar DeRozan.
“You talk to these veteran guys like Garrett and Thad and Sato and the word that always comes out of their mouth is ‘We. We’ve got to do this better.’ A lot of times, players say, ‘I.’ They were always ‘We,’” Donovan said. “I just admire that not only did they take care of themselves, they took care of the group.
“I’ll miss them as people because they were great guys to work with. They all had a great sense of humor. They were all really easy to work with. And those guys gave me everything that they had.”
Donovan noted how no matter how many minutes he played, Temple hit the weight room postgame for maintenance work. He cited Satoranský's competitiveness. And he lauded both players’ leadership and messaging to the young team the Bulls started last season with.
“I appreciate that. It humbles me,” Temple said. “Me and Billy have known each other a long time so he knows what I bring to a team, the value that I have. I think he’s done a great job and is going to turn things around for them.”
Added Satoranský: “It just shows how Billy is as a person. And we were really close with each other, which is kind of ironic because it was a COVID year and not much time or space for interactions outside of basketball. But we talked a lot about basketball. We were on the same page with a lot of things. And I really appreciated the time with him, and I learned a lot.”
Both Temple and Satoranský praised the Bulls’ offseason moves, even if they were involved in one of the most significant ones.
“It was kind of the timing you don’t want to get,” Satoranský said of when the sign-and-trade went down. “I was on the way from Tokyo and the Olympics. I was prepared that a change might happen. My family knew about it my options. I wasn’t really surprised.
“I think I’m old enough and have experienced enough things to know this is part of the business and you can’t really take it personal or too down about it. I was happy going to New Orleans and have a new challenge in my career. I’m very happy where I am now.”
And as for those Olympics, Satoranský soaked up the entirety of the experience, including staying in the Olympic village with his Czech Republic teammates.
“It was awesome,” Satoranský said.
Czech Republic lost to Team USA 119-84 in a preliminary round game on July 31, a matchup in which Satoranský found himself matched up against Zach LaVine at times. The two are close.
“I’m happy that Zach won a gold medal. It was very prestigious for him,” Satoranský said. “It was a good battle. I think it was a tight game in the first half. We did our best but obviously their talent won out in the end.”