Chicago Bulls' Holiday tries to take league-ordered promotion in stride

Updated 3/7/2018 10:09 PM

Justin Holiday faced the unusual circumstance of being returned to the Chicago Bulls' starting lineup at the demand of the league office.

Actually, the NBA didn't order Holiday to start. The Bulls could have used him as a reserve, but the league did tell the Bulls they needed to adhere to player-rest rules when sitting Holiday and Robin Lopez.

So Holiday was back in the lineup Wednesday night against Memphis.

"I don't know much about (league decisions)," Holiday said at Wednesday's shootaround. "I just know they said, 'Justin, you're playing today,' and that's what I'm here to do. Just stay ready and do what I'm supposed to do. I don't know all the rules and loopholes."

After the all-star break, the Bulls announced plans to sit Holiday and Lopez, while giving younger players more minutes. In the six games that followed, Holiday played once, when Zach LaVine sat out a back-to-back, and Lopez hasn't played at all.

The league instituted player-rest rules last fall, mostly to keep teams from resting star players. Teams can now be fined for resting healthy players on the road, or resting multiple healthy players at home.

The Bulls followed the rules by playing Holiday and sitting Lopez against Memphis, but Hoiberg said he expects both players to start Friday at Detroit.

"The one thing I've learned about the NBA and things, you're not going to understand everything," Holiday said. "Just control what you can control. That goes from playing time, to if you make a team or not, to situations like that. It's all part of the business."

Spartans invade facility:

The Bulls had some special guests Wednesday at the Advocate Center. The Michigan State men's basketball team held a practice at the Bulls' facility.

The Spartans used a family connection to make it all work. Fred Hoiberg's son Jack, who played at Hinsdale Central High School last year, is a freshman walk-on at MSU.

"With playing the (Big Ten) tournament a week earlier this year, they've got this week off and it's spring break for them, so you can do activities with teams now in the NCAA," Fred Hoiberg said. "The best thing about today was I was able to spend some time with my son, and these days, especially when your kids are off at college, you don't get the opportunity to do that very often."

Hoiberg said because of his son, he was the only person from the Bulls given permission by the NBA to watch the practice. Michigan State has a couple of players, forward Miles Bridges and center Jaren Jackson Jr., who figure to be on the Bulls' draft list this summer.

The Spartans made the most of their Chicago visit by going to the play "Hamilton" on Tuesday night.

Back to bench role:

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he thought about leaving David Nwaba in the starting lineup but ultimately decided to return Justin Holiday to his previous role.

"Justin's been starting for us all year and he's done a really solid job for us," Hoiberg said. "We just really liked what he's brought to us this year, especially with his professionalism and leadership. Then David hopefully (can) give us energy off the bench. We need that, especially with Bobby (Portis) in the staring lineup right now."

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