The ‘disconnect between Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls continues to grow’ with tension with Demar DeRozan cited as a major issue after a clash with teammates at halftime in Sunday’s loss to the Timberwolves
Chicago Bulls and superstar forward Zach LaVine haven’t been seeing each other lately and according to a report from The Athletic, that includes growing tension on the court with fellow all-star Demar DeRozan.
While the report states that Lavine and DeRozan maintain a good personal relationship, the lack of wins and growing stylistic tensions have led to a ‘palpable sense of disconnect’ between Lavine and the organization.
‘I think everybody goes through ups and downs, like every team does,’ LaVine told The Athletic on Tuesday.
Zach LaVine is increasingly ‘disconnected’ from the Chicago Bulls
‘Obviously if we don’t win, not everyone will be happy. It won’t be as good as it used to be. It all shines and shows when you win the games.’
‘But when you’re losing games and you’re trying to do the same things, it’s chaos. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For me, my head is bowed.’
‘I play my game and try to help my team. I help try to lead the team. I’m standing there. I just try to take it day by day and evaluate what we’re doing.’
Chicago was both expected and widely expected to be a serious contender in the east this year after they finished sixth in the conference last year, but the exact opposite occurred.
On court tension between LaVine and fellow all-star Demar DeRozan has become a big issue
The Bulls are currently 11th in the East with a 12-18 record and recently found out they may be out point guard Lonzo Ball for the rest of the season as he recovers from a knee injury.
The Bulls have reportedly held multiple team meetings as well as one-on-one meetings between Lavine and DeRozan but to this point nothing has been done to resolve the team’s issues.
Apparently DeRozan wasn’t the only player who had tension between Lavine and Bulls players news had a heated exchange of words at halftime of the team’s 150-136 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, with many teammates directing frustration at.
Following the game, coach Billy Donovan described the confrontation as ‘healthy,’ and said the players were trying to hold each other accountable.
Even with ‘on court tension’, the friendship between Lavine and DeRozan is strong
“There’s a certain level of frustration among people trying to figure out what we can do to help right the ship,” LaVine told The Athletic.
‘I think with the players we have, we’re trying to put it together to right the ship.’
‘We have those types of guys, those types of mentalities where each of us has been number one options on a team before and then we all come together collectively.’
‘It won’t take a person. It will take all of us as a unit. I think that’s what guys are trying to figure out how to help the group.’
Amidst the tension and bad results, head coach Billy Donovan’s job is said to be safe for now
Normally in a situation like this, coach Donovan’s job security would be given more attention, however, the report stated that Donovan’s job security is safe for now.
Donovan signed a multiyear extension before the start of the season as Lavine signed a maximum deal worth $215 million over five years.
DeRozan also owes the team a lot because of the three-year, $85 million dollar deal he signed in the summer of 2021 to join the Bulls in free agency.
Donovan posed with his star players during media day. All three are on huge contracts that make it difficult for them to part ways
Max contract aside, Lavine bounced back with the rest of the Bulls team this season.
His numbers dipped across the board through 25 games, as he averaged 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.
He rejected the notion that the bigger dollar amount next to his name had anything to do with his poor play saying: ‘It didn’t weigh (in) anything for me. I don’t understand how to put that in context.’
‘Just because you sign a deal, should it add weight? I think there’s extra weight every time you step on the court if you’re not performing, or you’re not playing the right way. But everyone is open to their own opinion.’