Boylen doesn't hold back on praise for Butler
As he left the locker room for the pregame session with reporters Friday, Bulls coach Jim Boylen walked straight into ex-Bull-turned-Miami-star Jimmy Butler. The two shared a strong embrace before promising to catch up later.
Boylen then called Butler "one of my favorite guys of all time."
The Bulls decided to move on from Butler in 2017, even though he was an all-star in the prime of his career.
The Heat are 11-3 and the Bulls are 5-11, so there's no evidence yet the Bulls made a smart move.
Boylen didn't hold back with his praise.
"He's a warrior," Boylen said. "He is a two-way player. He is a physically dominant guy. He is a worker. He's a fourth-quarter scorer. Some guys disappear in the fourth quarter, he does not. He relishes the big moments. He's not scared of the big moments. I think that's one of the reasons he's been on those playoff teams is because he makes sure when it's time to get something solid, he gets it."
Butler has already returned to the United Center with Minnesota and Philadelphia, but went 0-2 with a pair of 1-point losses. He sat out a Sixers' win in Chicago last April.
Butler feels at home:
Jimmy Butler has struggled to get comfortable in a new home since leaving the Bulls. Miami is his third team in the past three seasons, but he talked Friday about finally being in the right spot.
"Like I tell everybody, I'm happy, man," Butler told reporters at the Heat's morning shootaround. "We're winning. We're competing at a high level. Organization is great, people around it, teammates. Everything is phenomenal right now.
"Everybody is around the work every day. Everybody is putting their time in. It just makes me smile because that's what I do. I don't got too much to say. It makes it fun because when you put in that much work, you're not doing it for no reason. You're doing it because you want to win."
Butler did express some love for Chicago, his NBA home for six seasons, beginning in 2011.
"It's always special. This is where I started," he said. "I'll always have love for this city. That will never change."
Chandler Hutchison missed his second game with shin splints, but coach Jim Boylen said he planned to have the second-year forward travel with the team to Charlotte, so it's possible he could play Saturday. ... Heading into Friday's action, the Bulls led the NBA in forced turnovers with 18.8 per game. "I did a poor job last year of coaching active hands," Boylen said. "We don't coach to steal the ball. We want to be in the right position with our body and our feet, but we also want to have active hands."