There was plenty of chatter this offseason about whether the Chicago Bulls would try to make a move to shake up what felt like a stagnant roster last season. They were fine (40-42) but ever since Lonzo Ball went down with a knee injury two years ago, they just have lacked that extra gear to be one of the East’s playoff squads.
Despite rumblings about Zach LaVine, they chose to mostly run it back, re-signing Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu, with a couple solid veteran depth additions in Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig. The hope was for it to click in a different way this year, but in the season opener that was not the case as they lost 124-104 at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After the game, Billy Donovan offered up some eye-raising information in his postgame presser when he said the players asked him if they could have some time to talk amongst themselves before he and the rest of the staff came in.
Bulls had players only meeting after losing to Thunder
It’s only been one game pic.twitter.com/oNbBoe1Kh5
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 26, 2023
It usually takes a couple weeks before we get word of our first players only meeting of the NBA season, so seconds after the final buzzer of Game 1 might just be a record. Historically, those meetings don’t turn things around simply because the team is probably not that good, and we’ll have to wait and see if the Bulls truly just needed a quick wakeup call to start the season or if some changes will finally need to be made.
There’s an additional layer to all of this after Vucevic and Donovan had an animated exchange on the bench, which Donovan characterized as “healthy” after the game.
“I think confrontation’s good. I think it’s healthy and I got all the respect in the world for Vooch and he felt a certain way and I kind of said what I felt.”
Bulls head coach Billy Donovan on his exchange with Nikola Vucevic.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 26, 2023
Maybe confrontation is good and the Bulls just needed to get laying this egg out of their system, but they are very quickly going to end up under the microscope if this turns into an early season swoon that lasts a couple of weeks.