LaVine, Young bid farewell to Bulls season, tune into social unrest
Instead of holding exit meetings at the Advocate Center the day after their season ended, the Bulls settled for Zoom calls with bosses they've never met in person.
Strange days continued for the Bulls, who split apart on March 12 after flying to Orlando for a game that was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Bulls weren't good enough to earn an invite to the NBA's resumption, also in Orlando, so now they're likely sidelined until training camp resumes in November.
"It stinks," Zach LaVine said on a teleconference with reporters Friday. "You've got to understand it, it's a weird time, especially with everything that's going on right now. But it's upsetting too. We weren't even good enough to get to the play-in games. So it's upsetting and it just shows we have to do a lot of things differently to get ourselves that recognition."
LaVine and veteran forward Thad Young spoke highly of the Bulls new management team, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley. Both were hired in April, so there has been only remote contact with players so far.
"Man, they've been great," Young said. "They've both been keeping us abreast of each and every thing that's going on, especially during the time where we were trying to figure out if we could get back in the gym or not, or during the time where they were figuring out who's going to Orlando. They were great. Arturas is very, very good as far as communicating."
Added LaVine, "I think whenever you change something it means that you're willing to put yourself out there and get better. So I'm all for it. I think everybody just wants to continue to get better and hopefully get this team winning. I'm very happy."
Karnisovas is expected to address the Bulls coaching situation relatively soon. Both players who spoke Friday took a neutral stance on whether Jim Boylen deserves to return as head coach.
"It's not for me to judge somebody," LaVine said. "I know for a fact he does his best, and that's all you can ask for sometimes. As a player I try to go out there, follow the lead, do my job, and decisions on things like that I leave up to higher management. That's not my role in the organization."
There's been some talk of the eight teams left out of the NBA's resumption plan being able to hold a minicamp this summer, but no formal details. For now, the tentative plan is for the lottery to happen on Aug. 25, the draft on Oct. 15, open training camps in mid-November and start the 2020-21 season around Dec. 1. So it will be roughly nine months between meaningful games for the Bulls.
There are plenty of real-life topics more meaningful than when the Bulls play their next game. LaVine, whose father is black and mother is white, has been active in the Black Lives Matter movement and attended a rally in Seattle on Thursday led by former Bulls guard Jamal Crawford.
"I just encouraged (those in the crowd) to go vote," LaVine said. "I can stick myself out there, I haven't voted before. And, you know, that's not doing my part in the community. So, go out there and not just vote for the presidency but things in your own community.
"Everything that you vote for can make a change and (get) those people who are in power to hear your voice and help make that change. Educating yourself, making sure that we're all together, because what's going on isn't right."
Young has a different perspective, with young kids who are starting to understand and ask questions about what's been going on, with both the violence and protests. Young, who spoke from his home in Texas, has two sons, 6 and 9.
"My youngest son, he asked the other day, 'Why did they kill that man, Daddy?'" Young said. "It's hard for me to answer that question because you don't want to push him into the harsh reality of what it is. But you have to have answer those tough questions and you have to have those tough conversations with your kids.
"I don't want them to have to grow up and fear for their lives or have to grow up understanding they can't do the same things that other people are doing. That's one of the toughest things. You want to give your kid the world. In these times, it's just not the same.
"If I'm going to be specific about it, the black kid can't do everything that a white kid is doing. Those are things that are very, very tough to talk about. But it's a harsh reality and we have to talk about them."