Zach LaVine

Bulls' Billy Donovan on Zach LaVine: ‘I see a guy trying to win'

Head coach said postgame incident in which star guard declined interview has been 'handled internally'

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Head coach Billy Donovan said the Chicago Bulls have addressed the postgame situation from Saturday night in which Zach LaVine declined a postgame interview that's broadcast throughout the United Center.

Multiple reports, including NBC Sports Chicago, said important figures in the organization weren't thrilled with LaVine's actions, which included him ignoring a public relations employee and walking straight to the locker room.

"It's been handled internally," Donovan said.

LaVine also has apologized to and talked at length with the public relations employee, with whom he has a strong, professional relationship.

Donovan detailed his preferred organizational philosophy.

"Me being here for the time that I've been here, I really think we have good quality people," Donovan said. "That goes from players to medical to PR people. They're really great people to work with. My thing is I want everybody to treat everybody with class and respect and help each other do their job. We all have jobs to do. And they're difficult and demanding and there are emotions in that.

"My wish would be that everybody helps each other in doing their job to the best of their ability."

LaVine is extremely accommodating to the media and has represented the franchise professionally for seven seasons.

"Yes, absolutely," Donovan said, when asked a follow-up question about LaVine's large body of work of professionalism.

Donovan said he didn't see the incident in real time but heard about it later.

Every move LaVine makes is drawing greater scrutiny placed against the backdrop of him and the Bulls both being open to finding a new home for him. Teammates and coaches have answered questions about LaVine's commitment.

Donovan said he sees nothing different in LaVine's approach and desire to win.

"My conversations with him have been more about the basketball piece of how as a staff and myself can help him, what he's seeing out there, how he can impact the slow starts," Donovan said. "I did not see anything different from him in that locker room when I walked in. I didn't get a guy who wasn't in the locker room or in a different room or upset or pouting or turned around. I talked to him after the game. He talked to players after the game. I saw a normal Zach in there."

In fact, Donovan said LaVine's play from that night, in which he consistently gave up the ball when double-teamed, speaks to him trying to play the game the right way.

"If you look at his play---and that's what I've focused on, the coaching piece---he's generating a lot of assists for guys in terms of closeout opportunities. I'd like to see him be more aggressive in first halves like he is in these second halves. I think that would help our team. I think he's trying to help on defense.

"If I'm being critical of him, being aggressive in that first half, he made a lot of really good plays in that game late. I see a guy on the floor that's trying to win."

Donovan said LaVine even told him he could play all 24 second-half minutes during a recent loss to Orlando if the coach wanted because he knew how important winning is.

"That's the kind of dialogue he's giving me," Donovan said.

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