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Report: Bulls Players 'Directed Frustration' at Zach LaVine During Halftime Exchange

Erin WalshDecember 20, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the third quarter of the game at Target Center on December 18, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Bulls 150-126. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

During the Chicago Bulls' 150-136 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, "multiple teammates directed frustration at Zach LaVine" during a "strong exchange" at halftime, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Johnson asked Bulls head coach Billy Donovan about the confrontation, and he said "confrontation is healthy" and that players holding each other accountable is a "good thing."

The news comes after The Athletic's Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry reported that LaVine and the Bulls "are not seeing eye-to-eye."

According to Joe Cowley, another confrontation occurred after the game.

The Athletic added in its report that "there's been a palpable feeling across various parts of the franchise of a disconnect over LaVine's situation in Chicago."

At this time last season, things were going well for Chicago as the Bulls were the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. This season, the team is 11th in the conference with an 11-18 record and appears far from contending with the best of the best.

LaVine spoke to The Athletic about the report and the growing frustration within the team:

"I think everybody goes through ups and downs, just like every team does. 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. 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."

LaVine entered the 2022-23 campaign coming off back-to-back All-Star Game selections, but he hasn't lived up to the hype this season, with his numbers down across the board. Through 25 games, he's averaging 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from deep.

After signing a five-year, $215 million max deal over the summer, the 27-year-old was expected to perform far better this year.

The Bulls have had a number of team meetings "to try and work out their issues," according to The Athletic, and that has also included one-on-one meetings between LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, who have experienced an on-court disconnect this year.

Chicago revolves around the play of LaVine and DeRozan, and if they aren't jiving on the court, then the Bulls have little chance of finding success. If the duo can figure out what the issue is quickly, then the Bulls will have a much better chance of becoming a playoff team.