Breaking news late Wednesday from Shams Charania of Yahoo!
Sources: The NBA issued a warning to the Chicago Bulls this week on resting healthy players, and the team now plans to play veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday again more extensively to close the season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 6, 2018
I was legitimately curious if this was going to happen. There’s a whole lot of bad teams out there racing towards the bottom, including the ‘proud’ franchise from Chicago. But as far as I can tell none were outright DNP’ing healthy players like the Bulls.
The Mavericks were fined for admitting that tanking is advantageous, but they are playing all their guys (just usually choking late in games). The Atlanta Hawks are outright releasing veterans, but that is better for the ‘integrity of the game’ (or at least the players’ union) than what the Bulls are doing with Lopez and Holiday. Other teams are perhaps taking liberties with injured players (like Memphis and Mike Conley), but Holiday and Lopez not only are healthy now but have been durable in their careers (so the Eric Bledsoe excuse from last year is out).
So once again, the Bulls have hopped on a trend too late and too clumsily. The league had to step in and call them out on their crap. Maybe if it gets worse there’s some spare Colangelo laying around the league officee to force a management or ownership change?!?!?
We’ll have to see if either or both of Lopez and Holiday will return to the starting lineup or simply be in the rotation again while the Bulls insist they need this precious ‘development time’ in the form of gifted game minutes in a trash final stretch of the season. Playing veterans more will theoretically mean a more aesthetically pleasing product, and perhaps be a better testing ground for the ‘core’ group you purportedly want to see develop.
But it’s also poor timing for the lottery balls, as the Bulls play the aforementioned Grizzlies, losers of 14 games in a row, on Wednesday night.