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Zach LaVine, Bulls having some big issues?

Zach LaVine warming up

Feb 9, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) warms up before action against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls’ tailspin continues, and now some concerning details are emerging about the team’s relationship with star player Zach LaVine.

In a lengthy feature this week, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Bulls are not seeing eye-to-eye with the All-Star guard LaVine. Charania adds that there is a “palpable feeling” of disconnect within the franchise over LaVine’s situation.

The report also mentions that there is increased skepticism within the locker room about head coach Billy Donovan and the coaching staff. Additionally, LaVine has reportedly had one-on-one meetings with star teammate DeMar DeRozan to try to iron out their issues on the court (though Charania says that the two players still maintain a strong personal relationship).

You can read Charania’s full report, which also contains quotes from LaVine himself on the situation in Chicago, here.

The Bulls are currently in the midst of a bland and uninspiring season. After earning 46 wins and a playoff berth last season, Chicago now owns a smelly 11-18 record, which has them outside of play-in tournament range. LaVine, who is in his prime at 27 years old, is averaging 21.8 points a game, which is his lowest since the 2017-18 season. DeRozan, 33, leads the Bulls with 25.9 points per game but even that is a step down from the 27.9 he had last year.

A largely hapless bench and the continued absence of starting guard Lonzo Ball with a knee injury have further magnified Chicago’s issues. Meanwhile, LaVine just began a new five-year max contract worth about $215.2 million, so the Bulls are stuck in the mud in that sense too.

LaVine and his Bulls teammates infamously had issues with ex-Bulls coach Jim Boylen. Now it appears that some similar tensions may be brewing for the team under the third-year Bulls coach Donovan as well, especially with some of LaVine’s recent public frustrations.

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