Bulls trying to deal with loss of LaVine
When Zach LaVine entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Thursday, it meant the Bulls had to cancel practice, cancel shootaround, but took the court Friday night against Memphis at the United Center without their leading scorer.
Before the game, coach Billy Donovan didn't have any updates on LaVine's status, other than the team expects him to miss more than a few days.
So there's no official news from the team, but the most likely scenario is LaVine tested positive for COVID-19 and will be out roughly two weeks. He would be the fourth Bulls player to test positive this season, joining Garrett Temple, Chandler Hutchison and Tomas Satoransky.
Donovan said no other players were affected by LaVine's situation, although Satoransky missed Friday's game with an unrelated illness. Donovan shuffled the starting lineup a bit, adding Daniel Theis and moving Thad Young back to the bench. Temple, Coby White, Patrick Williams and Nikola Vucevic were the other starters.
"There's nobody in our locker room that we're going to sit there and say, 'OK you pick up that slack,'" Donovan said before the game. "It's not, 'Hey Vuc, we don't need 25 or 24, we need 35 now.' We're going to have to do things collectively together.
"We're going to have to make even more adjustments. It's not about putting in an entirely new offense, but we're going to have to tweak things. And this is going to be kind of another curveball that these guys are going to have to deal with a little bit as well."
During Friday's first half, it seemed possible some guys who haven't been contributing lately could benefit from getting more shots. White, who scored just 2 points against Orlando on Wednesday, produced his first 20-point game since the all-star break by the middle of the third quarter.
"I think the trade impacted everyone because everyone's roles have kind of changed," Donovan said. "The unfortunate part for me is I know we need some opportunities to practice and have live practice and contact, and we've been so limited to do that, that we're having to learn on the fly and learn each other through games a little bit.
"We'll have to definitely look at things, lineup-wise, and what we can do to kind of pair different groups together and move guys around. These guys have been great about having a willingness to do different things to try to help the overall benefit of the team."