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DeMar DeRozan on Bulls' LaVine Argument: 'Frustration Kicks in' When Things Go Wrong

Doric SamDecember 21, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 11: Zach LaVine #8 speaks with DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on December 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

As details continue to emerge regarding a locker room confrontation among Chicago Bulls players, star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan offered his perspective on the situation.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports reported that "multiple teammates directed frustration at Zach LaVine" during a "strong exchange" at halftime of Sunday's 150-136 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that there was an additional confrontation after the loss.

After snapping a four-game losing streak with a 113-103 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday, DeRozan told reporters he believes the exchange was healthy for the Bulls.

"It'd be a problem if we didn't have any aggressive confrontation. It ain't like nobody threw blows or chairs or anything," DeRozan said. "To have any type of confrontation is just a true sign of a competitor. When you want to win, and things aren't going right, frustration kicks in."

Earlier on Tuesday, The Athletic's Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry reported that LaVine and the Bulls "are not seeing eye to eye." The report also stated, "there's been a palpable feeling across various parts of the franchise of a disconnect over LaVine's situation in Chicago."

The Bulls signed the two-time All-Star to a five-year, $215 million max contract extension over the summer, but the 2022-23 season has not gone the way they'd hoped. Chicago is just 12-18 after Tuesday's win over Miami and sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

However, to DeRozan's point, the confrontation on Sunday may benefit the Bulls in the long run. Chicago put forth one of its better offensive performances of the season on Tuesday, with Nikola Vučević (29 points), DeRozan (24) and LaVine (21) all shooting over 50 percent from the field in the victory.

The Bulls will look to carry that winning formula into Wednesday's road matchup against the Atlanta Hawks (16-15).