MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Bulls’ leadership committee hasn’t faded into oblivion just yet.
Proof of that was offered up Wednesday, when guard Zach LaVine said a recent addition was made: Otto Porter Jr.
So it lives.
But the group is down to four with LaVine, Robin Lopez, Lauri Markkanen and Porter. It was originally a five-man band in December: LaVine, Lopez, Markkanen, Justin Holiday and Bobby Portis.
There were indications that Kris Dunn was going to join when Holiday was traded to the Grizzlies, but that never happened. A source said that it was Dunn’s decision to remain committee-free.
“I think the main thing of it was just some of the leaders on the team can relay the coach’s message,’’ LaVine said.
Obviously, that was imperative a few months back.
After coach Jim Boylen took over for Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 3, the first week was anything but boring. There was an embarrassing 56-point loss to the Celtics to go with some tough-love practices and an attempted two-player mutiny to boycott a practice.
That led to a players-only meeting, followed by a team meeting. Then Boylen suggested the formation of a leadership committee.
“We had a situation over the weekend that could’ve been handled by a leadership group walking into my office and saying, ‘You know what, Coach? This is how we feel today. What do you think?’ ’’ Boylen said at the time. “We’ve got a good group of guys and a good leadership group that has a sprinkling of the layers of our team.
‘‘I’m juiced, man. I’m jacked up about it.’’
As the roster changed, however, talk of the leadership committee seemed to fade away.
Until LaVine made it loud and clear that it still existed. The biggest difference these days is that Boylen has lightened up on all the practice suicide sprints and push-ups, and the growing pains on both sides have eased.
“We haven’t really had to do a lot,’’ LaVine said. “I think it’s just something where [Boylen is] trying to boost the head of the snakes on the team, things like that.’’
Friday is the deadline for being waived and remaining playoff-eligible, but Lopez still doesn’t seem willing to push the buyout issue with the organization.
That means another season without the postseason for the big man.
“I haven’t even been thinking about it,’’ Lopez said of the buyout question. “We’ve been having a lot of fun out on the court right now, and I’m relishing it.’’
The Bulls announced that G-Leaguer Brandon Sampson was added to the roster for the two-city trip, and they’ll re-evaluate his status Saturday.
“I like his skill level and his athleticism, and, as you can see, we’re kind of going back and forth between him and Rawle [Alkins], giving them both opportunities to be with us,’’ Boylen said. “So we kind of felt that at this time it was Brandon’s time.’’
Sampson isn’t expected to see many minutes, but he does give the Bulls another practice body. Considering the number of injuries the Bulls have suffered, there is value in that. The team is scheduled to practice Thursday in Atlanta.