Bulls coach Billy Donovan sees a locker room that is LaVine-drama free

By Chicago 4 Min Read

Start with Zach LaVine refusing to deny that he and the Bulls could be headed for a breakup on Wednesday, add some social-media drama focusing on whether he did or didn’t remove the words “Bulls Nation’’ from his X (formerly Twitter) account and let the speculation firestorm continue burning.

That’s the space the Bulls occupy right now, and it will only heighten as the LaVine storyline drags on.

It’s a good thing that coach Billy Donovan believes he has a locker room that is fairly insulated from the outside noise.

“As a coach, you get a feel on some of those things when there’s talk or when there’s chatter,’’ Donovan said Friday. “I have not sensed any of that stuff at all. I just have a hard time believing that our guys are going to get wrapped up in someone’s social-media account.

“It’s kind of a personal thing. I’m not a social-media guy, so I don’t know so much about it, but I think if someone has a social-media account, whatever they’re doing on it, it’s kind of like that’s what they do. I don’t see it impacting our group. I don’t.’’

From the looks of it, Donovan is right. It hasn’t.

The mindset of most Bulls is that LaVine and trade rumors are just the “business of basketball,’’ and they don’t take offense to that part of the business.

It helps when the locker room has a core of experienced veterans.

Alex Caruso experienced drama firsthand playing four years in Los Angeles, DeMar DeRozan has been in the league forever and Andre Drummond is no stranger to the NBA rumor mill.

So while they unfortunately will be queried whenever there’s a new development or even a petty gesture on social media, Donovan was fairly certain that his group was well-equipped to handle it.

“I think the other thing, too, one of the things I try to preach to our guys, even to our staff and myself personally, ‘What is it you can really control? What do you have to do every single day that you’re responsible for?’ ’’ Donovan said. “To get distracted by something that is over here, something you don’t have control over is, to me, a waste of time and energy. I think you can get caught up on wasting time on something you really don’t have control over.

‘‘I get that our guys are going to be asked about Zach, and that’s fine, but it’s not like I’m dwelling on that.’’

The bad news for the players is that they shouldn’t expect a quick resolution when it comes to LaVine and a new destination.

This has all the makings of a deal that will take awhile, especially with potential candidates locked up with their teams until mid-December and mid-January, and the trade deadline isn’t till Feb. 8.

Faked out

DeRozan was back with the team after missing the Magic game on Wednesday for personal reasons.

Donovan described his return as a “calming force.’’ It’s a quality DeRozan brings to the team. Magic coach Jamahl Mosley wasn’t as thrilled, knowing that his players would be tested by DeRozan’s classic pump fake.

“Well, he’s been doing it for this many years, so obviously [the league isn’t] doing a good job of [countering it],’’ Mosley said. “He knows when you’re reaching in, he knows when to swipe it through, he knows how to get the pump fakes and he does a great job of that.’’ 

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