November 11, 2001
CHICAGO (AP) -- Tim Floyd and Charles Oakley seem to have called a truce.
While the Chicago Bulls power forward said the $50,000 fine team levied at him for criticizing the head coach was unwarranted and he might appeal it, a conciliatory gesture made by Oakley during Saturday night's game against Charlotte might have stopped an escalating war of words.
Oakley was set to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter, but he encouraged Floyd to leave second-year forward Marcus Fizer in.
``I thought it was a big gesture on his part,'' Floyd said.
Rather than ordering Oakley back in the game, Floyd took the advice, and Fizer ended up scoring 12 points in the period. The Bulls still lost 89-85.
``I'm just trying to get everyone on the same page again,'' Oakley said.
Oakley wasn't giving any ground before the game, however.
He indicated he might appeal the fine, which came in response to comments he made after Thursday's 53-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
``It's not going to stop me. I'll let my lawyer check into appealing,'' Oakley said.
Oakley said the fine was an attempt by the Bulls to control him -- he even likened the situation to slavery.
``They say it's a family. But it's deeper than that. There's a lot of things they do to try and control certain guys. Treat us like men and we'll treat you like you're the owner-boss,'' Oakley said.
``Don't embarrass me with the fine. It's not slavery. I can speak. Don't treat me like that. That's a slap in my face.''
After Oakley criticized Floyd for his substitution pattern against the Timberwolves, Floyd reacted angrily and said he would never seek a player's approval for such things. Both Floyd and general manager Jerry Krause criticized the example Oakley was setting for the Bulls' young players, whom Oakley was brought in to tutor.
But Oakley, known throughout his 17-year NBA career for speaking his mind, questioned why the Bulls would bring him back if they weren't going to let him be himself.
``You buy a German chocolate cake, you know what's in it,'' Oakley said.
``I've been known for telling the truth over my career. I feel like I got hit on the hands. My job is to come in and be myself, No. 1. A captain should voice his opinion.''
Oakley also said he hadn't discussed the fine with Floyd, and didn't think it was an urgent matter.
Floyd said after the game it was time to make up.
``He's a good guy and he's a winner,'' Floyd said. ``I don't want anybody to interpret who he is differently based on a couple competitive people teeing it up after a very difficult loss. I've got a great deal of respect for the guy.''