It was the Twitch account shot heard throughout the Advocate Center.
Fresh off a rookie season that showed some promise, Bulls big man Daniel Gafford innocently took to his Twitch feed to answer some fan questions while playing NBA2K20.
“I’m going to answer this question, but I’m not going to read it out,’’ Gafford said, while he was streaming back on that July afternoon. “As a matter of fact, I will read it out – ‘Do you like Jim Boylen?’ He aight. I don’t like him a lot, but he OK. Got some things he can work on, got some things he can get better at as a person and as a coach. I’m not going to hate on him. I’m not going to hate the man.’’
He didn’t exactly show love for his then-coach, either.
With Boylen long gone and Billy Donovan now sitting in that coaching chair, Gafford met with the media for the first time since making those comments.
“Yeah, I had contact with Jim, just made sure I cleared the air that it wasn’t anything intentional, that I was just trying to bash him or anything like that,’’ Gafford said of the incident in a Zoom call on Saturday. “It was nothing like that at all.
“Everybody was saying, ‘Oh, I’m bashing him. I’m being mean. I’m just talking down on him.’ That was just basically constructive criticism in my opinion. I mean, everybody has their own opinion about what I said. But what I was meaning was constructive.’’
At the same time, to a man this roster is thrilled to have a different voice leading that locker room.
“For me I think how I kind of looked at it was when you’re not winning or you don’t have a good track record of winning, you have to make changes,’’ veteran forward Thad Young said of the change. “I think they did everything they were supposed to do as far as making those changes and just bringing in fresh faces and giving us a fresh start. I think a lot of guys within this franchise just needed a fresh start with a fresh face, and just a new voice. Something different that they can look forward to each and every day.
“When you have a team that hasn’t made the playoffs or hasn’t won that many games for several years after the teams that they had in the past, you have to make changes.’’
Veteran Otto Porter Jr. is well aware that first-round pick Patrick Williams was selected to likely take over his vacancy by next season or even sooner.
After all, Porter will be a free agent and the Bulls have made no indications that he’s in their future plans.
Still, Porter isn’t above playing mentor to the fourth overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
“He’s definitely come up to me, ask a million questions already, which is very good for us, especially in his development,’’ Porter said of the relationship the two have had in the first week of camp. “I think he’s going to be very key for us as he’s starting to play a little bit more. You know they don’t have summer league, so he’s definitely going to be in there with us, going to war.
“I was in that position, coming in at 19 [with the Wizards] and you know, looking to the veteran guy. So my job is to pass down information to help out the younger guys get acclimated quicker, cause we’re going to need him.’’