The Zach LaVine incident from Saturday has been “handled internally,” according to Billy Donovan, with the Bulls coach insisting that he feels like LaVine is still playing to win with the Bulls.
Nam Y. Huh/AP Photos
There’s very little that Billy Donovan has shied away from in the question and answer department with the media through the years.
Transparency has never been a problem for the Bulls coach.
But these are sensitive times for an organization that is lost in a storm of which direction to go, and seemingly has a first mate that wants to jump ship.
So when the topic of Zach LaVine and the incident from Saturday’s post-game were brought up, Donovan chose his words carefully.
“The only thing I’ll say about it is it’s been handled internally, it’s been discussed internally,’’ Donovan said on Monday. “I don’t want to get into what those conversations are or what happened, but it’s certainly been addressed.’’
It was after a 21-point comeback win over Miami on Saturday, when LaVine was caught on camera seemingly storming toward the tunnel and into the locker room, while the rest of his teammates were celebrating on the court.
It only got worse when the guard pulled his arm angrily away from public relations director Beth Esler as she was trying to get him to do the post-game interview with the flagship television station.
Donovan and the front office were immediately made aware of what happened, with the Sun-Times reporting that Donovan was very angry about the situation.
LaVine was asked about it after the game and replied, “Just a miscommunication with the PR team. We’re all fine.’’
They actually weren’t until a few days later when LaVine apologized for what transpired.
As far as what actions the team played in all of this with the two-time All-Star, Donovan wouldn’t say, but he seemed fine with the resolution.
LaVine and the PR department have always maintained a very good relationship, and that’s why it seemed so out of character from him.
But again, sensitive times.
“I didn’t see it in real time. Obviously, I heard about it,’’ Donovan said. “The first thing I would say is me being here from the time I’ve been here, I really think we have quality people, like really good people. And that goes from players to medical to PR. I think they’re all great people to work with. My thing is I want everybody to treat each other with respect and class, and help each other to do their job.
“Whether it’s our coaching staff with the cleaning people that are coming into the building at 5 in the morning to clean the place up or whether it’s the people in the kitchen that are cooking meals for our staff. Whoever it is, whenever we’re in that building everybody is doing a job and you want everyone treated even more so with everyone trying to help them do their job. You can make the job easier for somebody.’’
The other layer in all of this, however, was does LaVine even want to be here any longer?
He didn’t deny the mutual trade interest that he and the Bulls both have to move him, and was this a case of a guy trying to push that trade into action quicker?
Donovan didn’t think so. At least he’s not seeing that type of player in his locker room and on the court.
“I didn’t see anything different from him in that locker room when he sat there (after the game),’’ Donovan said. “I didn’t get a guy that was not in the locker room or in a different room, upset, pouty, turned around, whatever. I talked to him after the game, he talked to players after the game. I saw a normal Zach in there.
“I see a guy on the floor that’s trying to win.’’