The chemistry came quickly.
A reminder of that was again on display Thursday, as Zach LaVine was petitioning for the Bulls to have a backcourt monopoly in the All-Star voting for the Eastern Conference.
With the release of the first fan vote, DeMar DeRozan was atop the guards with 1,487,598 votes, followed by James Harden (892,065), Trae Young (862,878) and then LaVine easily holding down the No. 4 spot with 776,043 votes.
LaMelo Ball – yes, younger brother of the Bulls’ Lonzo was behind LaVine, but with only 422,247 votes.
The only other Bull in the top 10 was Nikola Vucevic, who was 10th in the frontcourt voting with 92,936.
“We don’t have any egos,” LaVine said recently when discussing the mindset that has allowed him and DeRozan to not only co-exist, but catapult the Bulls to first place in the Eastern Conference. “Regardless of who has it going that night or who has it going in a quarter, we’ll both come together and look for other guys and get them involved throughout the game and just try to figure out how to win the game. That’s been the first and foremost thing that has helped this team.”
That’s why LaVine had no shame in politicking for next month’s All-Star Game
“We’re number one in the East right now,” he told reporters. “We’re putting up great numbers. DeMar is having I feel like an MVP-type season. And I don’t feel like I’m that far behind him.”
Not the only interesting comments to come out of the organization on Thursday, concerning the closeness of this roster, and the chemistry they have going.
Executive vice president of basketball Arturas Karnisovas did a rare in-season interview on 670 The Score, and talked about the roster chemistry and the importance of it so far throughout this regular season. He made it very clear that disrupting it is not a high priority.
“I think we’d like to see how this group works together, and we’ve got to be really sensitive to any changes, if any, we will have,” Karnisovas said when discussing trade possibilities. “Like I said, these guys have a great locker room, a great vibe. They like each other. It’s a joy to watch what they’re doing on the floor. But of course, there’s room to improve as a group and I’m looking forward to watching them.”
One warning when it comes to Karnisovas?
Other executives have insisted that he was one of the tougher front office executives to read, and that was back in his Denver days. Since coming to the Bulls that poker face has become even less telling.
So while he was saying all the right things about keeping the current personnel locked in, that could be the message he wants the rest of the league to carry while he works behind the scenes or he just doesn’t like what’s being floated around out there on the trade table yet.
The Feb. 10 trade deadline is still a ways out, and with the standings still knotted up tightly there’s sellers that haven’t even stepped to the table yet.
What’s available today might have Karnisovas wanting to keep the close chemistry intact, but that could all change tomorrow.
The Bulls would also have to decide if they are willing to give up on a Coby White or a Patrick Williams, considering that would be the best realistic assets they have in order to bring back help to the frontcourt, which they need badly.