Zach LaVine and the Bulls Are "Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye" as the Team Continues to Crater

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Zach LaVine and the Bulls Are “Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye” as the Team Continues to Crater

Chicago Bulls

*Joker voice*

And. Here. We. Go.

After an 11-18 start to the regular season — and a disastrous 150-126 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night — the report we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. The Athletic’s Shams Charania dropped an inside look at the Chicago Bulls’ tumultuous start to the season, which included plenty of commentary about Zach LaVine.

According to Charania, the Bulls have had “multiple” team meetings to try to right the ship, which … yikes. It’s early for that. Some of those meetings have even included one-on-one sit-downs between LaVine and co-All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Sources told The Athletic that the two continue to have a strong personal relationship, but it remains abundantly clear that this hasn’t led to any real progress as on-court running mates.

And all of that leads directly into Charania’s biggest news: the organization and their recently-maxed player, LaVine, aren’t on the same page behind the scenes.

Even more, multiple league sources and sources close to the organization say LaVine and the Bulls are not seeing eye-to-eye. Over the past few weeks, there’s been a palpable feeling across various parts of the franchise of a disconnect over LaVine’s situation in Chicago. All of this has been happening while LaVine is in the first season of a five-year, $215 million maximum deal that was signed this summer.

To be honest, I have no idea of what this could entail. And it sure doesn’t help that this report doesn’t go on to share specifics. If anything, this feels like something Klutch Sports, LaVine’s agency, may have thrown against the wall to ensure the front office continues producing a winning product around one of its clients.

Not to mention, LaVine just signed the largest contract in franchise history. The Bulls couldn’t have been more obvious about their intentions to build around him, so what has created a divide between the two parties just a couple of months into his new deal? Is it the style of play? Is it the lack of results? Is it the coaching situation?

LaVine did provide quotes to The Athletic, but those pretty much only made things more confusing:

“Obviously if we’re not winning games, not everybody’s going to be happy. It’s not going to look as good as it was before,” LaVine said. “It’s all glitter and show when you’re winning games. But when you’re losing games and you’re trying to do the same things it’s turmoil. Everybody has their right to their own opinion. For me, I keep my head down. I work on my game and try to help my team. I help try to lead the team. That’s where I stand. I just try to take it day by day and evaluate how we’re doing.”

Let’s also not forget that LaVine has been a part of the Bulls’ problems. He’s putting together one of his least impactful and efficient seasons on the offensive end since coming off his ACL injury in 2017-18. While a lot of that has felt like shaking off the rust of yet another offseason procedure, perhaps this is LaVine and Klutch telling us that they believe it’s something else.

If one thing is for sure, it’s that there are plenty of problems with this roster. Whether it be the lack of shooting, a primary playmaker, rim protection, or effort, there are many areas where this group can improve. LaVine might recognize as much, raising concerns about how well this front office can correct course. Still, I’d prefer he’d be part of the solution rather than someone who only identifies the problem.

Speaking of which, that’s what we have to watch out for now. A story like this is a big freakin’ deal. While it can provide the kind of public pressure needed to get an organization to start fixing things, it can also be the precursor for *a lot* more chaos. What if this is the major spark that lights a slew of trades over the next couple of months? And what if one of those trades includes Zach LaVine?

At this point, everything has to be on the table for the Bulls, right?

More on the possible storm of trade rumors coming below …



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.