Bulls players contacted Players Association over Jim Boylen's tactics, nearly boycotted practice, per report

The Chicago Bulls suffered their worst loss in franchise history on Saturday night, losing by a jaw-dropping 56 points to the Boston Celtics. Yet somehow, that wasn't the craziest thing that happened this weekend. On Sunday, the Bulls refused to practice and were reportedly close to not showing up to the facility at all. 

In the end, the players decided to report to the practice facility but refused to practice. Instead, they held multiple meetings, one with just players, and one that also included the coaching staff. Disaster was averted, but it was still an inauspicious end to an absolutely bizarre first week for the new head coach, who took over for the recently fired Fred Hoiberg. 

It also doesn't appear that this will be the end of the issue. According to a report from Vincent Goodwill, the Bulls players have already filed a report with the Players Association over Jim Boylen's tactics. Via Yahoo Sports:

Chicago Bulls players contacted the National Basketball Players Association on Sunday because of what they felt were extreme tactics by new head coach Jim Boylen, league sources told Yahoo Sports, the culmination of a growing divide between the coach and his players.

Boylen has tried to downplay the incident, claiming he was the one who decided not to practice -- an idea that is nearly impossible to buy, especially after his marathon practices earlier in the week. He also added on Monday that his job is to "push players out of their comfort zone," and pushed back on the idea that it was a team-wide revolt on Sunday. 

In any case, there are some serious problems to sort out in Chicago, as Boylen's coaching style seems outdated. While some have said the right things in the media, it's clear from their decision not to practice on Sunday that the Bulls are fed up. 

Boylen's tough tactics, which included putting the players through conditioning drills between games during the middle of the week as if it was training camp, and his in-game decision to twice pull all five of his starters during the loss to the Celtics appear to be alienating the players who will be back in action on Monday night when they host the Sacramento Kings at the United Center (8 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with the NBA League Pass Extension). 

After the Celtics game, Zach LaVine expressed frustration about Boylen's five-man substitution pattern, which many saw as showing up the players. He cut off a reporters question about it, and added that he felt "embarrassed." Boylen, though, wasn't interested in any sob stories. In response, he said that he felt the players were "embarrassing," and said they needed more leadership. Via NBC Sports Chicago:

"I think your play is embarrassing, me subbing them is saving them, maybe. Maybe we saved them," he said. "The pro player thing, this is basketball; this is about honoring the game and doing the right things.

"Embarrassment is not giving the effort in that Bulls uniform, so I put five guys in that I thought could put the effort in.

"They're disappointed, they feel bad about it. We need some leadership to step up, we need some guys to take leadership roles on the team."

It's rare to hear a coach call out his players as Boylen did, even after such a tough loss. Those comments were likely at least partly responsible for the Bulls players refusing to practice on Sunday following the loss. 

What happens next remains to be seen, but there could be some more fireworks down the line, especially if Boylen remains steadfast in his ways. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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