Hours after Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen was ejected for arguing with LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Friday night, Zach LaVine contacted the Bulls’ front office and offered to pay Boylen’s fine, league sources told ESPN. Bulls management agreed to allow LaVine to pay the fine, which will likely cost him $7,000, sources said.
The relationship between Boylen and LaVine had a rocky beginning.
When Boylen took over as head coach of the Bulls in December, LaVine was publicly skeptical of some of his coaching decisions. Boylen, known for being an old-school disciplinarian who prized defense, challenged LaVine’s defensive efforts.
A few weeks in, their relationship continued to be tense. LaVine played a significant role in the December meeting between the front office, coaching staff and players. The meeting was the result of several players discussing boycotting a practice scheduled after the team’s 56-point loss to the Boston Celtics.
As the two continued to work together and spend time together, the frostiness thawed.
Boylen and Rivers were both ejected in the third quarter of the Clippers’ 128-121 win over Chicago on Friday night. Boylen said after the game he took issue with how the Clippers were setting screens, noting that point guard Ryan Arcidiacono had to exit after taking a hard hit in the first half.
Boylen, who already had four technical fouls heading into Friday’s game, will be fined $5,000 for the two technical fouls he picked up. He also will receive an additional $2,000 fine for the ejection.
“What Jim did, I personally respect that a lot,” LaVine told reporters after the game. “He really cares about us and he’s going to fight for us. That shows his true character the way he feels about us.”