The head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, that the Bulls held a players-only meeting Wednesday night following the team’s season-opening loss to the Thunder. The Bulls were blown out at home, losing 124-104.
Donovan said the players asked for more time with each other when he entered the locker room. He added that he appreciated the players taking ownership of the poor performance.
“I mean, guys want to win“, Zach LaVine said. “You run a game like this in Game One and you don’t have conversations…guys are frustrated. It sucks having to get to the first game. It happened. We have to go from there.”
Center Nikola Vucevic said he hopes it’s a learning moment for the team, Johnson adds.
“A lot of guys said a lot of good things, things that needed to be said” Vucevic said.I think we can really use this to learn and change some things that we need to change.
“It wasn’t anything crazy, no fighting or anything like that. It was really constructive. It was maybe one of the first times since I’ve been here that it was like that. And it was really necessary.
“I started to say certain things. I really liked that so many guys chimed in and said so many good things. No guy is 100 percent right. Everyone had something to say and sees things differently. And when you have these constructive conversations, they can only bring positive things. I think communication is very important.
“I’ve been on teams in the past where we’ve had this, and it’s worked almost every time where we’ve been able to really fix some things and move on..”
As Johnson writes, Vucevic also had a heated exchange with Donovan during the third quarter. He talked about what happened after the match.
“I’m just unhappy with some of the things we do,” he said. “Obviously, I expressed it a little more aggressively than I should have at the moment. This happens in the heat of the moment. You try to win and do what you can to help the team. I didn’t like what was happening. We talked about it. And it’s over with.”
For his part, Donovan said he had no problem with the trade, although he admitted that both sides could have handled it differently.
“It wasn’t disrespectful or anything” Donovan said, according to Johnson. “He was just frustrated with the way we were playing. I didn’t blame him. I aligned myself with him. But there has to be a way together to solve these problems.
“I think the showdown piece is really, really good. I think it’s really healthy. And I think that should happen as much as possible.”