Zach LaVine Says 'It Sucks' Bulls Didn't Qualify for NBA's 22-Team Restart

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 6, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 29: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New York Knicks on February 29, 2020 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls will not be among the 22 NBA teams going to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, to finish off the 2019-20 season, which has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LaVine expressed his disappointment in regards to not playing but also noted his understanding given the complexity of the situation.

"It sucks. You've got to understand it. It's a weird time, especially with everything that's going on right now, but it's upsetting too," LaVine told reporters Friday per ESPN's Eric Woodyard. 

"We weren't even good enough to get to the play-in game, so it's upsetting and it just shows that we've got to do a lot of things differently to get ourselves that recognition to get to that spot."

On the flip side, Bulls forward Thaddeus Young provided perspective as to why his season ending prematurely is beneficial:

"For me, it's two-fold. Obviously, I wanted to play. I wanted to be a part of it. But another side of me was worried about being away from my family or if they were to even come down. Just me being around everybody in general, playing basketball and then going back to my family and not knowing if I contracted the virus. Or not knowing if my family contracted the virus.

"As I said before, I have two young kids and I have a wife and my major concern is their health. Me, personally, I think I can fight it off, but I don't know if my kids would be able to do that. I don't know if my wife would be able to do that. So I don't want to put them in harm's way."

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The 31-year-old Young also said that he felt the long stretch between competitive games would add "a couple more years onto my career."

The NBA invited the 16 teams currently in the top eight in the Eastern and Western Conferences as well as six teams who are currently within six games of the playoff picture. That group includes the Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.

Chicago ended its regular season with a 22-43 record, which was eight games behind the 30-35 Orlando Magic for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Injuries prevented the Bulls from reaching their full potential, as Otto Porter (51 games missed), Wendell Carter Jr. (22 games) and Lauri Markkanen (15 games) were all sidelined for long stretches due to various ailments.

LaVine, 25, finishes his season with a career-high 25.5 points per game on 45.0 percent shooting (38.0 percent from three-point range), 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest. He completed his third season with the Bulls and second as the team's leading scorer.

The Bulls will go into next season with executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas now running the show with general manager Marc Eversley. Chicago will own an NBA draft lottery pick.

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