Chicago Bulls Rumors
Bulls injury update per Fred Hoiberg: Lauri Markkanen is shooting from deeper range, but is still 1-2 weeks away from playing with contact. Hoiberg says they will likely utilize the Windy City Bulls — the G League affiliate — to help get him back into game shape. Denzel Valentine’s time frame is still “up in the air.”
For several months, Mirotic was mortified by the circumstances that got him to New Orleans. Last October, his jaw was fractured in an altercation with Bobby Portis at Bulls practice. The hot war turned cold for a couple of months, as Mirotic wasn’t eligible to be traded until Jan. 15. “When that s— happened, I was down,” Mirotic says. “Looking at it now, it was not a good experience. but it happened. Maybe it did happen, maybe for a reason. I ended up here, playing great, playing with AD, Jrue Holiday, having fun, finally finding myself. This is the best basketball I’ve ever played.”
What does the future hold for Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota? That’s the most prevalent question in league coaching circles after Thibodeau, Minnesota’s coach and team president, was forced to trade away an unhappy Butler just 16 months after going all in to pry Butler from the Chicago Bulls on draft night in 2017. The growing assumption, of course, is that Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden will pay for the implosion of the all-too-brief Butler Era at season’s end. It’s the natural conclusion in the wake of Butler’s departure, as well as the perception that Thibodeau was unwisely devoted to his disgruntled superstar at the expense of Minnesota’s young cornerstone duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Yet as sensible as all that may sound in the wake of the eight-week Butler circus, don’t forget to file away what we just witnessed. As he just reminded us all, Minnesota’s owner Glen Taylor tends to move with great (as in snail-slow) deliberation.
What happens if the Wolves somehow pull themselves together from here to earn a second successive playoff berth after 13 seasons without one? Thibodeau still has two seasons left on his monster contract, so he may not be so easily cast aside. Another potential complication: One coach Taylor is known to be very fond of — Fred Hoiberg — is still employed by the Bulls. A former Timberwolves front-office executive before he moved into college coaching at Iowa State, Hoiberg has one more season after this left on his Chicago contract. Within the Wolves’s organization, Ryan Saunders — an assistant coach on Thibodeau’s staff and the son of the late former Timberwolves Coach Flip Saunders — is held in high regard.