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Professional

NBA: Bulls to adhere to NBA rules about resting players, tanking

The Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) goes to the basket against the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol (33) during the first half Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
The Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) goes to the basket against the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol (33) during the first half Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls will start playing Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday again after receiving a reminder from the league about player rest and tanking.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said the league communicated with the team after the All-Star break about those two players and their diminishing roles.

Holiday was back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Lopez was sitting out his seventh straight game, though coach Fred Hoiberg said both players will start Friday at Detroit.

“Our young guys will still obviously get an opportunity to play,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve got a rotation in mind and how we’re going to use it.”

Paxson said in a statement to several outlets that “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.”

NBA owners passed rules in September designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, and teams from losing on purpose to improve their draft position. The league decreased the odds of the team with the worst record winning the lottery, and the NBA’s Board of Governors gave Commissioner Adam Silver authority to fine teams that violate the new guidelines about resting players.

Teams can’t sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games. The rules also say unless there are unusual circumstances, teams should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game – or rest healthy players for road games.

“It’s a little bit of a crazy situation,” Lopez said. “I’m always excited to get out there and play with the guys on the floor.”

Chicago had the eighth-worst record in the NBA at 21-42 entering Wednesday’s game. There were five teams tied with 20 wins right behind the Bulls, who are trying to see how some of their younger players perform with bigger roles.

“We’re still playing our young guys,” Holiday said. “That’s still what we’re doing. That hasn’t changed.”

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