LOS ANGELES – Robin Lopez has no issues with Kris Dunn.
Sure, the Bulls big man had to be removed from practice on Monday after he and Dunn had a heated exchange, but let’s not forget that it was Lopez who got into a shoving altercation last month in Oklahoma City defending Dunn.
That felt so long ago, especially after the Bulls lost their eighth-straight game on Tuesday, this time falling to the Los Angeles Lakers 107-100.
“Kris and I were just hanging out in the training room,’’ Lopez said, finally addressing what happened 24 hours earlier. “Kris is my dude. I’ll always have his back, and I think he’ll always have my back.
“I was just a little fired up playing basketball. I got a little too heated. It happens sometimes, and it went that way.’’
Lopez was also asked if all the rumors surrounding him had been building up and maybe led to him having a slight meltdown, and insisted that was not the case.
“Any of that stuff, you know me, whatever is going to happen is going to happen,’’ Lopez said.
And the fact is Lopez has no idea what’s going to happen. He was being discussed in trade talks two weeks ago, but those talks have quieted right now, according to a source. Then there was a report about the Bulls refusing to negotiate a buyout for Lopez right now, which is a stance they should be taking until after the Feb. 7 trade deadline passes.
“I’m not too worried about that,’’ Lopez said about all the rumors surrounding him. “I’m focused on what I’ve got going on right in front of me with these guys. I’m invested in these guys, they’re invested in me.’’
They just might not be invested in his playing time.
Coach Jim Boylen hinted that Lopez could see reduced minutes, as the staff wants to see some different combinations in the frontcourt. And reduced minutes he saw, sitting the entire game.
“Everybody thinks they contribute positively to a team,’’ Lopez said. “I’m no different, but whatever is going on I’m going to roll with the punches, I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team from the bench then.’’
As far as Boylen was concerned, he was hoping that the heated practices continue, as long as they don’t escalate. He was also hoping they would help lead to some positives on the scoreboard. That didn’t happen, as the Bulls are now 10-34.
“I felt like it was like a galvanizing thing to be honest with you,’’ Boylen said of the heated exchange. “I kind of enjoyed it. That’s what teams do. We want to make each other better. That’s not going to happen being nice guys to each other all the time.’’
It now seems that former Simeon High School standout Jabari Parker has worked his way out of the doghouse and back into the rotation.
According to Boylen, the forward has met the criteria that was asked of him, and the staff wanted to see what he could do now that he’s finally decided to get in better shape.
Boylen was asked why it’s taken Parker so long to fall in line, and didn’t have an answer on that.
“I don’t know,’’ Boylen said. “That’s probably a good question for him. I just laid out what I wanted from him, my expectations. He accepted those, he listened to those. He played good minutes in Utah, so I’m thankful for that, I’m happy for him. We hope he plays hard and keeps growing. That’s all we can do. I don’t think it’s a game-by-game thing right now.’’