CLEVELAND — For now, Bulls coach Jim Boylen has no problem concerning himself with only the coaching duties.
That doesn’t mean he won’t have a say in personnel decisions when approached by either vice president of basketball operations John Paxson or general manager Gar Forman. But right now, the only thing atop Boylen’s to-do list is handling the X’s and O’s while trying to establish a new culture.
“I’m going to coach our team the best I can,’’ Boylen said Sunday, when asked if having a say in personnel decisions was important to him. “John and Gar know and Michael [Reinsdorf] and Jerry [Reinsdorf] know that I’ll support them in any way I can, in any decision they need me to. The job they’ve given me is to coach the team and to try to get our guys [to] compete every night. I’m trying to do that the best I can.’’
Boylen has the full support of ownership, which includes the ability to clamp down on a player for a lack of effort, possibly paving a way for a trade.
So in a sense, he actually does have a say in personnel decisions.
Ask Jabari Parker, who finds himself in Boylen’s doghouse and has done little to work his way out of it.
“I have been in the league awhile,’’ Boylen said. “If the time comes where they need my support, I’ll be there for them all night long. Whatever they need. We are connected. Never felt more supported in anything in my life, and I appreciate it.’’
A Minnesota return?
It’s not just a coincidence that Zach LaVine seems to play his best against his former team.
In his first meeting last season against the Timberwolves, LaVine scored a season-high 35 points in a 114-113 victory. He had 28 points in a loss on Nov. 24.
He hopes his sprained left ankle will be healed in time on Wednesday, when the Timberwolves face the Bulls at the United Center.
Boylen says LaVine might play against his former team.
“I do,’’ Boylen said, when asked if he felt LaVine was close to returning. “I hate to make like a definitive timeline, but he seems to be improving every day, he’s positive, and I think it’s something our people feel can heal, and it’s healing.’’
Boylen backs Shaq
There’s a reason that Shaquille Harrison remains a valuable part of the rotation.
And Boylen said that’s not about to change anytime soon.
“I like the ball picked up and worked 94 feet,’’ Boylen said. “He has the ability to do that. I think he has a real clear concept of what his role is for us. Play defense. Compete. Rebound. Get us into our stuff. Drive the ball. It’s great when a guy accepts his role and then thrives in it. I think he’s doing that.’’