Although the status on the remainder of this year’s NBA season remains unclear, Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine isn’t allowing it to kill his spirit.
Amid Monday’s front-office changes — which included firing general manager Gar Forman — LaVine shared his marriage proposal to his now-fiancee, Hunter Mar, on Instagram. And on Tuesday, he spoke with his former Minnesota Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell on the NBA’s Instagram Live about how he plans to help the Bulls move forward when basketball resumes.
“You have to have goals. We had a goal coming into the year and we didn’t achieve it,” LaVine told Mitchell. “We fell really short. We weren’t as good as we thought we were. We didn’t play as well as we could’ve.
“There was times, this year, where we were in a lot of games, and we just lost it, so as a coach, they take a lot of flak for that. But sometimes it’s on the players and we have to stand up and do that as well. The main thing for me is to make sure everybody comes to the gym and we have one goal at hand. We’ve got to come into training camp and be prepared with one goal in mind and we’ve just got to go for it. For some people, you have to know your role, some people taking a backseat and some people stepping forward in leadership. But we have to talk about that and be communicative and all be on the same boat. You can’t be spread apart.”
Before the March 11 stoppage, LaVine was averaging a career-best 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, but the team was 22-43 overall. Chicago has now completed one of its biggest front-office shake-ups in franchise history after hiring Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as the executive vice president of basketball operations.
The Bulls also moved John Paxson, who previously held Karnisovas’ position, in the new role of senior adviser of basketball operations and are in search of a new general manager.
“Earning the enthusiasm and excitement back from the fans of the Chicago Bulls is both a challenge and something I very much look forward to,” Karnisovas said. “These fans deserve a team that they can be proud of and my objective is to get us back to relevancy.”
While changes are still being made, LaVine continues to work out and get up hundreds of shots in his home state of Washington despite remaining under quarantine.
The two-time slam dunk champion also shut out NBA legend Paul Pierce on Sunday night in the NBA’s first HORSE Challenge on ESPN and is headed to Thursday’s semifinals where he will look to win it all.
Once the NBA resumes, he will try to carry over that momentum to take the next step in his career.
“I just want to be able to win. I’m a winning player. I’ll do whatever it takes. I stay in the gym. I appreciate your words,” LaVine said. “I think I was an All-Star this year, I thought I had an All-Star season last year, as well. That’s not going to stop me, though, from what I think I am and where I think I’ll be at. You know where my mindset is. I just want to be able to win because I think everything comes with it.”