Report: Bulls Players Went to NBPA to Discuss Jim Boylen's 'Extreme Tactics'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2018

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 08:  Head coach Jim Boylen of the Chicago Bulls encourages his team against the Boston Celtics at United Center on December 08, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls players have reportedly taken action in response to the demands made of them by head coach Jim Boylen.

Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill and Chris Haynes reported Monday that Bulls players reached out to the National Basketball Players Association regarding what they believed were "extreme tactics" used by Boylen:

"After taking the helm from fired coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday, Boylen held three two-and-a-half-hour practices in his first week that included extra wind sprints and players doing military-style pushups. Calling for another lengthy practice after the back-to-back led to a near-mutiny and caused the players to reach out to the union, sources said."

The Bulls fired Hoiberg on Dec. 3 and appointed Boylen as the head coach for the remainder of the season. In just a week, things have dissolved into chaos.

The Boston Celtics handed the Bulls a 133-77 defeat on Saturday at United Center. A day later, The Athletic's Darnell Mayberry reported Chicago was on "the brink of a full-blown mutiny."

Players reportedly took exception to the fact that Boylen had scheduled a practice for Sunday, per Goodwill and Haynes. In response, they considered multiple alternatives, including a boycott of the practice and a walkout Sunday right after they arrived at the team's practice facility.

Ultimately, the Bulls held a pair of meetings Sunday, the first of which was for players only and the latter of which involved the coaches as well, according to Mayberry.

Boylen later told reporters he had hoped the Bulls would have a full practice Sunday but enjoyed a "productive day" nonetheless.

Darnell Mayberry @DarnellMayberry

Jim Boylen on today’s developments. https://t.co/16TzVc1Kys

On Monday, he took issue with the notion the players didn't want to practice, per NBC Sports Chicago:

NBC Sports Chicago @NBCSChicago

"That is not true." #Bulls Head Coach Jim Boylen pushes back on the narrative that his players didn't want to practice. https://t.co/8yqKBKqZLR

Not only would it appear Boylen's style isn't going to work with the Bulls, but the team also may have already reached a breaking point.

According to Goodwill and Haynes, Boylen leaned on the two seasons he spent with the San Antonio Spurs as justification for his handling of the team.

Bulls players quickly made it clear they weren't going to put up with that: "Boylen repeatedly referenced his days on the San Antonio Spurs staff and instances in which coach Gregg Popovich pulled all five players off the floor to send a message, sources said. A player responded, sources said, telling Boylen in essence that they aren't the Spurs and, more importantly, he isn't Popovich."

Goodwill and Haynes interviewed Charlotte Hornets guard Tony Parker, who has plenty of experience working with Popovich in San Antonio, and he said that mimicking Popovich only works when you've built up the necessary trust with everybody involved.

Boylen didn't have that kind of relationship with his players in Chicago before adopting his stern approach, and the players' turning to the NBPA illustrates how fraught the dynamic has already become.


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