When Minnesota visits the United Center on Friday it will be the first time Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson play against the Bulls. Zach LaVine is also part of the reunion theme, competing against the team that drafted him in 2014.
"The team was really close," LaVine said Thursday at the Advocate Center. "I'll probably see those dudes after the game. Just the camaraderie was really cool and we still carry that on today. It doesn't really matter what team either one of us are on, we'll see each other in the summer time and stuff like that either way."
LaVine says he keeps in touch with Tyus Jones, Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad. The Timberwolves have been more successful this season without him, but LaVine sees the big picture when it comes to last summer's trade to the Bulls.
"I feel like at the end of the day it would have been hard for all three of us to stay on the same team," LaVine said, referencing Towns and Wiggins. "We all talked about it in the locker room, messing around, 'One day one of us is going to be on a different team.' It was me and you move forward. It's a great opportunity here that I embrace and I love it here. I'm very happy with the situation I am in."
Likewise, LaVine said his feeling weren't hurt when he was sent to the Bulls for Butler last June.
"You just understand basketball," he said. "You can't be mad. You have to understand the decisions that have to be made for the organization, sometimes they are bigger than you. Feelings you have toward the team; like I said, we are going to be friends regardless."
Dunn out this weekend:
There will be no Timberwolves reunion for Kris Dunn Friday. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg ruled Dunn out for the two games this weekend against Minnesota and Washington.
There are two more chances for Dunn to play next week, home games against Orlando and Toronto, before the all-star break. But his exact return date remains unclear. Dunn has missed eight games since crashing to the floor against Golden State on Jan. 17.
"He is out of the concussion protocol. Now it's about getting him reconditioned," Hoiberg said. "We had a really high-level practice (Wednesday). Part of that competitive element was getting Kris back for some of the contact and having Lauri back out there. It was a fun, competitive practice. We went about two hours. You don't have a lot of those at this time of year."
Hoiberg talks about Butler:
Fred Hoiberg had some kind words for Jimmy Butler in advance of Friday's meeting.
"The two years with Jimmy, it was an absolute pleasure coaching him just because of his competitive edge and the way he brought it every day," Hoiberg said. "I've always said the three most competitive players I've been around in my career are Reggie Miller, Kevin Garnett and Jimmy Butler. Those guys never backed down from any challenge or shied away from any big shot. I'm happy for him. He's in a great spot."