The majority of NBA teams have reopened their practice facilities on a limited basis, but the Bulls aren’t one of them. However, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports the Bulls have gotten clearance from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to talk with city officials about reopening the Advocate Center for limited workouts on Friday.
FRIDAY UPDATE: It looks like these limited workouts will not be allowed to start until next Wednesday.
Blazers star Damian Lillard offered a glimpse to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz of what these limited workouts are like, and he admitted it’s “weird.” Johnson notes the following guidelines would be in place:
- No more than four players may enter the facility at once
- No head or assistant coaches may participate
- Group activities and scrimmages are prohibited
- Players must wear masks except for when engaging in physical activities
- Staff in the facility must wear gloves and physically distance by at least 12 feet
Johnson also points out that a lot of Bulls left the Chicago area in March, so who knows just how many players would even show up right away. Some Bulls have visited the Advocate Center in recent weeks for treatment and rehab, with league permission of course.
As the Bulls prepare for their return to the practice facility, the NBA is getting closer to a decision on how to resume the 2019-20 season. There’s a Board of Governors meeting on Friday, and the hope is a decision is made soon after that.
It’s unclear just what role the Bulls will play if/when the season resumes. There are a number of scenarios on the table, some involving the Bulls and some not. There’s talk of a play-in tournament or a World Cup-style group stage taking place of the first round. Playing regular-season games is still on the table as well, though ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Wednesday that there’s increasing skepticism about bringing all 30 teams to Walt Disney World.
The Bulls hold a 22-43 record, which is 11th in the Eastern Conference and 24th in the NBA. For them to continue to play, they’ll need regular-season games and/or one of these play-in tournament ideas with a certain amount of teams. I personally don’t think the Bulls deserve this playoff chance given the sample size of games already played. If there is a play-in tournament, I would be fine with something like the 16 current playoff teams plus the four Western Conference playoff hopefuls in the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings and Spurs. Going past that and including teams like the Suns, Wizards, Hornets and Bulls is just too much for me.
Of course, another big question here for the Bulls is this: What happens with Jim Boylen?
While a few other staff moves have been made, the new front office led by Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley has been preaching patience on the Boylen front since they were hired. If the Bulls do return and play more games, will it be Boylen coaching them?
I don’t really see why he should, but the way the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley told it to 670 The Score’s Dan Bernstein earlier this week, Boylen would likely coach any remaining games this season before then getting fired afterward. Cowley even claims the decision to fire Boylen has been “all but made,” though he left the door open to the possibility of the coach saving his job if the Bulls somehow went on an improbable playoff run.
Basically, the Bulls are trying to give Boylen “a fair shake” before pulling the plug on him, possibly in part because ownership and John Paxson are in his corner. This, of course, shouldn’t really factor in the decision at all, but it does seem like the Bulls are trying to win the optics battle here. While a coaching change feels inevitable, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer.