Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan is staying the course in his partnership with All-Star Zach LaVine amid reports of tension between the two lead guards during the team’s recent losing skid.
“Every great relationship is a work in progress,” DeRozan told The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry on Tuesday after the Bulls’ 113-103 victory over the Miami Heat. “When you appreciate it and it’s something you want to be a part (of), you’re going to go through the good and the bad with it. Not necessarily saying the bad is a bad thing. It just comes with it.”
Despite the two stars’ positive personal relationship, LaVine and DeRozan have struggled at times to blend their individual playing styles on the court. Disconnection has also formed between LaVine and the Bulls organization.
Chicago snapped a four-game losing streak with the win over Miami but has lost seven of its last 10 contests. During halftime of Sunday’s 150-126 blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, players had a “strong exchange” and directed their frustrations at LaVine, NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson reports.
“It’d be a problem if we didn’t have any aggressive confrontation,” DeRozan added Tuesday, according to Johnson. “It ain’t like nobody threw blows or chairs or anything. To have any type of confrontation is just a true sign of a competitor. When you want to win and things aren’t going right, frustration kicks in.”
LaVine is down in points (21.8), assists (4.1), rebounds (4.4) field-goal percentage (44.3%), and 3-point percentage (36.5%) in his fifth season with the Bulls.
The 27-year-old echoed DeRozan’s sentiment, insisting players are right to be frustrated with the team’s performance of late.
“We’re in this together. Sometimes you need those conversations, from top to bottom,” LaVine said, referencing Sunday’s exchange, per Mayberry. “You get through it.”
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