basketball

Chicago Bulls being warned about possible tanking by NBA

The Bulls have been actively sitting Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday - both healthy players - in an attempt to get extended minutes for the younger talent.


Kahron Spearman


According to Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania (h/t SI.com, the NBA has warned the Chicago Bulls to stop resting healthy players, and the team will play veterans Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday more during the remainder of the season.

After trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves, before the season, Chicago has made player development the top priority, while apparently not making full efforts to win. 

Per Nick Freidell of ESPN Chicago, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson put out a statement on the club's communication with the league. 

The Bulls have lost six of seven, and now sit at 21-42. Lopez (12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds) has sat the last six games, while Holiday (13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds) has played just once in the previous six.

After the All-Star Break we had communication with the league office about Robin and Justin's roles -- after healthy dialogue the league determined that their situations fall into the 'player rest' policy. We respect the communication and cooperative dialogue with the league and will adhere to their recommendations going forward.

Though the Bulls haven't explicitly stated they would tank, Paxson has said the younger players would get minutes for further evaluation.

"You can't play 12 guys in our game," Paxson told reporters on Feb. 20, per WGN's Rick Tarsitano. "Nine or 10 is the most, so we're going to start looking at blocks of games where we'll be having a few guys that haven't been playing much or at all, where they'll have a significant role for us.

"...It's just the position we're in as a young basketball team - 20-37 - with a lot of young guys on this roster, several we haven't had a chance to see play much this year. For us to make the proper evaluation, in terms of who fits us going forward, this is something we have to do."

SOU  RCES