Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine and head coach Jim Boylen didn’t exactly have a great relationship throughout Boylen’s tenure.
The two seemed to reach a high point when LaVine offered to pay Boylen’s fine for an ejection late last season.
That kind of gesture by LaVine even caused an issue.
“What LaVine didn’t appreciate, according to a person familiar with the situation, was Boylen leaking the gesture to the press. What was intended as an olive branch quickly turned into a publicity stunt orchestrated by Boylen to make himself look good,” via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
After that incident, their relationship deteriorated even more this season, headlined by LaVine quickly getting pulled from a game back in November.
“LaVine was angry after the game and there was a minor concern among members of the traveling party that things could turn physical between the two prior to the team flight to Charlotte,” according to Mayberry.
No matter how heated things may get between an NBA player and their coach, they don’t actually ever physically fight.
However, players on the Bulls thinking this could have happened between LaVine and Boylen speaks volumes, as it just shows how much the two never saw eye-to-eye.
It also speaks to how Bulls players simply didn’t like Boylen or his coaching tactics.
Earlier this season, Bulls rookie center Daniel Gafford made his opinion of Boylen felt while live-streaming on Twitch.
“He aight. Don’t like him a lot, but he okay,” Gafford said. “Got some things he can work on. Got some things he can get better at as a person and as a coach. Not gonna hate on him. Not gonna hate the man.”
The Bulls finally fired Boylen on Aug. 14 after recently-hired President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karisovas decided “that a fresh approach and evolution in leadership was necessary”.