clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bulls guard Zach LaVine hoping wins will come and drama will stay away

LaVine said the Bulls are aware of all the drama teams throughout the Eastern Conference are dealing with this week. All that unrest could benefit his squad.

The Bulls’ Zach LaVine is more concerned about his team than the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving and the Nets.
The Bulls’ Zach LaVine is more concerned about his team than the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving and the Nets.
Matt Marton/AP

Maybe it’ll be an unhappy player as the trade deadline approaches.

Then there’s always the possibility of an injury or a positive coronavirus test.

Either way, drama will be headed the Bulls’ way at some point this season.

That’s just the NBA — a reality show caught somewhere between live games playing out on an almost nightly basis and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.’’

Guard Zach LaVine is hoping that when the drama arrives, the Bulls will have enough strong leadership and depth to handle it.

Until that day arrives, however, it would behoove LaVine & Co. to take advantage of other teams that are embroiled in drama, especially in the Eastern Conference.

Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s vaccination stance has been in the headlines for weeks, and the 76ers have to figure out what to do with problem child — and All-Star — Ben Simmons, who has become a disruptive force.

By the way, the Nets and 76ers are expected to finish ahead of the Bulls in the conference race.

“I think we all pay attention to it, and every team has its own issues, and we’re going to have some issues that we’re going to have to fight internally as the season goes on,’’ LaVine said. “That’s just the NBA season. I pay attention to it, but we’ve just got to worry about ourselves. If we can just be the best version of us, I think it will be good.’’

That starts with LaVine, who seems to be as drama-proof an All-Star as there is right now. He’s a pending free agent who has outplayed his current deal, but besides making his feelings known this summer on wanting to stay a Bull but also getting what he deserves financially, contract talk for him is almost a non-issue.

DeMar DeRozan has had a few unhappy moments in his career, the latest coming with the Spurs, but they were more rumor than fact and barely caused a ripple in the league landscape.

The same can be said for Nikola Vucevic, an All-Star without the usual All-Star problems.

Coach Billy Donovan isn’t looking to climb the next ladder or partake in push-ups with his players, and the front office of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley seems to be a no-nonsense group, keeping in-house business in house.

In many ways, the Bulls have become more talented but also more vanilla.

“We’ve got to focus on ourselves first,’’ Vucevic said. “This is a very new team with a lot of new faces, and we first have to establish ourselves.’’

The first step came Wednesday with a clunky victory over the Pistons, a performance filled with growing pains but a 94-88 win nonetheless.

The good news for the Bulls is they play the Pelicans in the home opener Friday and won’t have to deal with Zion Williamson, who’s injured.

Then it’s the Pistons again and the rebuilding Raptors.

The first real test might not come until their fifth game, when they play host to Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks, so there’s time to jell.

“Once we can establish ourselves and continue to learn each other, then we can focus on where we’re at,’’ Vucevic said. “This will be game by game for us, trying to build this thing up.’’

With as little drama as possible.

NOTE: Forward Patrick Williams (strained shoulder) is questionable for Friday’s game.