Welp, let’s talk about the massive smelly deadly elephant that is in the room!
The Chicago Bulls announced on Wednesday morning that Zach LaVine would sit out the season opener in Miami. Of course, the news comes after LaVine played through a significant knee issue that required offseason surgery.
Up until this point, LaVine and the Bulls have been nothing but positive about his return to play. While at least some level of injury management should have been expected for the recently maxed player, there was no indication given that LaVine would be at risk of missing tonight’s big game.
Alas … here we are.
- You don’t call for “injury management” on the first game of the season – at least not after implying that everything was fine and dandy. Additionally, why in the world would the team let LaVine participate fully in training camp and play in three of the four preseason games as opposed to saving him for the games that matter? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that ramping up is important, but I’d rather have him do that in limited minutes over the first few regular season games than waste energy in several meaningless contests.
- Indeed, the way this has been handled is extremely concerning and sketchy. Even if LaVine stood in front of reporters shortly after the announcement was made to ensure that he hasn’t experienced any setbacks, it’s extremely difficult for me to fully believe that. There is obviously some level of concern about what could happen if LaVine takes the floor tonight; otherwise, this decision simply wouldn’t have been made.
- Also, will all due respect to LaVine, I don’t trust him when he suggests that everything is ok. He’s the same guy who fought to play through both his thumb and knee injuries last season. As admirable as that is, it surely doesn’t instill much confidence in me when he downplays a situation like this. We know he prefers to play through pain, but being transparent about whether or not he’s experiencing it (especially after offseason surgery) is extremely important.
- I’m all for taking a cautious approach to the start of LaVine’s season. I want to make that clear. But the lack of this specific possibility in any previous public conversation is concerning. We were basically made to think that LaVine was 100 percent ready to go for the start of the year. The sudden reversal of that expectations makes it feel as if there is more going on here than what’s being shared. I hope that isn’t the case, and the team can somehow ensure us of that soon.
- I’m not in the mood to get hyped right now, Bulls.
- Meanwhile, the Miami Heat have currently listed both Victor Oladipo and big man Omer Yurtseven as out for tonight’s opener. Everyone else for the reigning No. 1 seed is good to go.
- As great as a win would be to start the season, all I’m looking for tonight is a competitive effort, especially with LaVine now sidelined. The Bulls struggled mightily in three of the four games they played against Miami last season thanks to the Heat’s two-way savvy and defensive physicality. The hope is that familiarity can help Chicago play the kind of disciplined basketball that is needed to take down this squad. They must limit turnovers (Miami scored 7th-most points off TOVs last season), control the pace of play, and score efficiently down low (Miami allowed the fewest points in the paint last season).
- With LaVine out, maybe a door has opened for Dalen Terry to find his way onto the court tonight.
- I can assure you that I will be using these.
- Ayo Dosunmu got the opportunity of a lifetime earlier this week. While leading a panel discussion for 60 local high school kids, Barack Obama made a surprise appearance. The hometown kid told NBC Sports Chicago that he was “honored” and “blessed” for the experience, and you can see a couple photos from the event below:
- Should the Bulls just tank for Wemby? (I’m kidding … maybe)
- I mean, might as well, right?
- SO MUCH TRADE TALK!