Report: Kings Players Clown Bulls About Having Another Long Practice After Loss

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2018

Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen yells to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings did more than just beat the Chicago Bulls 108-89 at the United Center on Monday.

They trolled them on the way out.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, one of the Kings players quipped "Uh-oh, another 2 1/2-hour practice for them tomorrow," while heading back to the locker room after the win.

The comment follows a report from Vincent Goodwill and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that revealed players on the Bulls reached out to the NBA Players Association on Sunday to complain about "extreme tactics by new head coach Jim Boylen," which was "the culmination of a growing divide between the coach and his players."

Boylen was given the head coaching job after the Bulls fired Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 3. Boylen was an assistant for the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich prior to taking an assistant job with Chicago starting in the 2015-16 campaign.

Despite that experience, Goodwill and Haynes pointed out it didn't take long for him to get "under his players' skin" for a variety of perceived transgressions.

Some on the Bulls believed "they were being treated like high school athletes," especially when the coach criticized their conditioning. They were also upset after "Boylen held three two-and-a-half-hour practices in his first week that included extra wind sprints and players doing military-style pushups."

That set the stage for Saturday's 56-point loss to the Boston Celtics that saw the head coach sub out all five starters multiple times, leading to feelings of embarrassment. Boylen then called for a Sunday practice even though the team was coming off a back-to-back.

Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reported the team nearly had "a full-blown mutiny" and noted Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez were the ones who talked teammates out of skipping Sunday's practice entirely by not even showing up.

They instead held meetings to air grievances, and Goodwill and Haynes described a particularly noteworthy exchange:

"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."

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, multiple sources said Boylen saw the meeting as a way to "build trust with players" and didn't back away from the criticism he received.

The Kings' trolling is yet another chapter in the 2018-19 Bulls saga, which comes after Boston handed them their worst loss in franchise history (56 points). Chicago is now 6-22 following Monday's result, although it appeared as if it were heading to victory with an 11-point halftime lead before it collapsed in the second half.

At least Bulls fans can take solace knowing another loss will help their draft standing since this is shaping up to be a lost season.

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