One day later, commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to all 30 teams the content of which made it very clear that the league would not stand any kind of tanking.
Tanking is the official term used to describe a franchise's effort to deliberately lose, and the best way to achieve that is by benching your best players even if they are healthy.
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. And the Chicago Bulls happen to be the team in their cross-hairs.
The Bulls, like many teams around the league, are focused on this spring's upcoming draft lottery and have made it clear that they want to see how younger players on their roster do with extended minutes. Meanwhile Lopez had been producing an average of 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 57 games. They host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Millions prepare for 2nd major storm in US East Coast
The main storm is still developing off North Carolina's Outer Banks, as warnings and advisories stretch from Virginia to Maine . More than 90,000 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday , mostly in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and NY .
The Bulls have lost 14 of their past 17 games and publicly stated in mid-February that they would begin sitting Lopez and Holiday....
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, the Chicago Bulls received a warning from the league about resting healthy starters, namely Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday. "We respect the communication and cooperative dialogue with the league and will adhere to their recommendations going forward", he continued.
"Our young guys will still obviously get an opportunity to play", Hoiberg said. The NBA has reacted similarly in the past when contenders rest multiple healthy players on the night of a national TV game.
The Bulls now hold the 8th-worst winning percentage in the league, giving them only a 2.8% shot at the first overall pic.