The Bulls ‘braintrust’ had an announcement in their first practice after the All-Star break.
Robin Lopez, Justin Holiday and Jerian Grant are out. Cristiano Felicio, David Nwaba and Cameron Payne are in.
Felicio and Nwaba will start alongside Dunn, LaVine and Markkanen on Thursday against the 76ers. Payne will play backup point guard to Dunn over Grant, who will start.
Relayed by KC Johnson of the Tribune, John Paxson said a bunch of bullshit about this move. He also said a bunch of bullshit preseason about the team’s vaunted and unique culture and not looking to lose games. But to be fair, that was referencing players trying not to lose, not the team telling a coach who to play and ‘evaluate’. Here is said (nominal) coach in a hostage-video type setting:
“We will start David Nwaba on Thursday and we will also start Felicio.” - Coach Hoiberg pic.twitter.com/eN29dgpu4Y— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 20, 2018
As if Fred won’t have his record called out when GarPax scapegoats him eventually. But gotta get paid too, so good for him.
Bad for the team, which is fine. I’m not sure David Nwaba’s insertion will actually hurt much, he’s pretty good when paired with solid players. Felicio’s inclusion should prove to be very tank-y, and Cameron Payne is...also a player on the roster.
Tanking is annoying and nothing will make anybody happy about it, and the Bulls are at least keeping up with their ‘competitors’ in shamelessly punting the final 25 games of the season. Which ultimately doesn’t matter as much as the lottery balls gained, so this is a pretty good ‘strategy’ for a losing franchise.
But then it calls back to them trying to insist their culture and development mattered before the season, heh. Somebody should check in with Bobby Portis to see if he’s going to start face-wrecking more people who didn’t ‘earn’ their starting roles. If he was truly motivated by such things he’d start with management.