The Chicago Bulls were on the receiving end of a beatdown on Monday as the team lost, 150-126, to the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to a new report by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, halftime of that game included “a blowup” between players, which was not the first time that something like this has happened during the 2022-23 campaign.
Sources indicated that there was a blowup between players at halftime of the Timberwolves loss, causing Bulls coaches to go into the locker room while they were talking outside. Source said it was the second time it happened. The other was right after a game.
— Joe Cowley (@JCowleyHoops) December 20, 2022
The report was confirmed by K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who added quite the detail: A few players were frustrated with Zach LaVine, the team’s All-Star guard who is in the first year of a max contract extension that will pay him a little more than $215 million over the next five years.
Can confirm @JCowleyHoops Tweet that players had strong exchange at halftime of Timberwolves loss, which drew coaches’ attention. Sources said multiple teammates directed frustration at Zach LaVine, and the situation intensified.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 20, 2022
Earlier in the day, Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic published a piece that said “the Bulls have held multiple team meetings to try to work out their issues, and that has included one-on-one, face-to-face sitdowns between [DeMar] DeRozan and LaVine,” although they mentioned that the two have “a strong mutual respect for each other.” And while an incident during the Minnesota game was not brought up, LaVine spoke to The Athletic about how this year has gone.
“There’s a certain level of frustration in people trying to figure out what we can do to help right the ship,” LaVine said. “I think with the players that we have, we try to put it on each other to right the ship. We have those type of guys, those type of mentalities where each of us have been number one options on a team before and then we all come together collectively. It’s not going to take one person. It’s going to take all of us as a unit. I think that’s what guys are trying to figure out how to help the group.”
The Bulls went into halftime trailing, 71-65, before the Timberwolves were able to run away with things in the second half. With the loss Minnesota, Chicago fell to 11-18 on the year. It marked the team’s fourth loss in a row and their seventh in their last nine games, and while they’re in 11th place and one game out of the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference, this season has marked a step back for a team that won 46 games and earned the 6-seed in the conference last year.