Bulls

Sam: Reinsdorf in favor of quick end to lockout?

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Sam: Reinsdorf in favor of quick end to lockout?

As NBA labor negotiations again go deep into the night -- somewhat minimized by the circus going in State College, Pa. -- with the hopes of ending the ongoing lockout, one aspect that hasn't been considered is the faction of league owners who aren't hard-liners. Among them, according to reports, is Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

That shouldn't be surprising, given that under Reinsdorf's leadership, the Bulls have been one of the most profitable franchises in the league. Of course, much of that is due to the impact of Michael Jordan, but after His Airness' (ironically, one of the aforementioned hard-line owners, reportedly) second of three retirements in 1998, the Bulls continued to rank among the NBA's leaders in attendance, even when they had some truly horrific squads.

In the nation's third-largest market, coming off a successful season and having the reigning league MVP and one of the NBA's brightest young stars, it's only logical that Reinsdorf would want a deal made as soon as possible. With Reinsdorf signing off and through the astute personnel moves made by executive vice president John Paxson, general manager Gar Forman and the rest of Chicago's front office, as well as recommendations of head coach Tom Thibodeau, assembled a cohesive, fiscally-responsible roster that's clearly built to contend for a title and equipped with enough youth, assets and flexibility to make adjustments down the road.

Why wouldn't Reinsdorf want to capitalize on that momentum?

Without knowing his net worth, just by owning the White Sox, it's clear that Reinsdorf has at least one other lucrative revenue stream. Therefore, it's unlikely that he's hurting as much as some of these small-market owners claim the NBA's current system has affected them.

Conversely, this is a man who also deals with baseball's more free-market economy and while the Sox's last World Series title was recent, Reinsdorf was at the helm when he bought a fairly downtrodden Bulls team (which coincided with Jordan's arrival), saw the organization become a dynasty, watched it go through another frustrating era and then stayed patient long enough to see it again grow into a league power.

In short, he might not say it -- due to NBA commissioner David Stern's gag order for owners during the lockout -- but no, it's not shocking at all to learn that "The Chairman" wants an end to this never-ending circus, even if his franchise will miss its annual November circus trip.

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

Jimmy Butler's injury produced memories for Zach LaVine, Fred Hoiberg

MINNEAPOLIS — That feeling of having your knee buckle out of nowhere, Zach LaVine is all-too familiar with it.

That feeling of being on the sidelines and watching Jimmy Butler’s knee give out, Fred Hoiberg has been there, too.

Different perspectives, and different reactions but Butler’s knee injury produced a sick feeling to many who watched it Friday night. Butler turned to pivot in the Timberwolves’ game against the Houston Rockets and immediately collapsed on the floor, having to be carried off.

LaVine tore his ACL in Detroit over a year ago, while it was revealed Butler suffered a right meniscus injury. But it looked all the same and LaVine understood the uncertainty Butler must’ve been feeling before the MRI revealed it wasn’t an ACL injury.

“It’s scary,” LaVine said following morning shootaround at the Target Center Saturday afternoon. “I wish him the best. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody. Especially a player of his caliber and what he’s done for the team.”

When LaVine injured his ACL, he actually played a few more minutes before being removed and going to the locker room. The time between being evaluated by doctors and them coming back feels like a lifetime.

“It’s scary. You know you hurt yourself, you don’t know how bad,” LaVine said. “You think you’re good, you’re a tough minded person trying to get through it.”

“I saw him on the ground trying to get up, (Rockets guard) Chris Paul made him sit down. Jimmy’s a tough dude. Thoughts and prayers going out to him.”

Butler and LaVine were the centerpieces of the draft day trade involving the Bulls and Timberwolves. With Butler suffering the injury the night before playing his former team a second time, the timing produced a bunch of memories.

In Hoiberg’s first year with the Bulls, Butler went down in a somewhat similar manner in Denver, a non-contact injury. It looked just as bad, and Butler was taken off the floor in a wheelchair.

Thankfully it was a right knee strain that cost him several weeks but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Considering the minutes he’s played over the last few years, Hoiberg was asked if Butler pushes himself too hard to be on the floor.

“Jimmy he wants to be out there,” Hoiberg said. “I remember the first year in Denver, he went down with what looked to be a serious injury. Thankfully he was back on the floor after 15-16 games.”

Actually, Butler missed 11 consecutive games before coming back for a nationally-televised game against the Rockets, playing 34 minutes in a Bulls win and missing the next three games for recovery.

“We really worried when he went down but it wasn’t something that ended his season,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy’s a worker. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve seen. It’s a huge reason for the type of player he is, that work ethic to make him one of the elite players in the league.”

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

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USA TODAY

With Bulls-Timberwolves looming, Jimmy Butler is diagnosed with meniscus injury

Jimmy Butler won't be facing the Bulls a second time this season.

Butler suffered a non-contact knee injury on Friday night in Houston. The initial X-ray only revealed he didn't have any broken bones, but the MRI had to wait until Saturday.

The Timberwolves announced that the MRI revealed a meniscus injury in Butler's right knee. There is not yet word on how long the All-Star guard will be out of action, but if it wasn't already assumed that he wouldn't play against the Bulls, it's now certain.

Avoiding the ACL tear means avoiding the worse case scenario, but this is likely still going to cause Butler to miss a significant amount of time with about a quarter of the regular season remaining. An update from Shams Charania of The Vertical said Butler could return for the postseason.

The Bulls take on the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Butler dropped 38 points at the United Center in his return to Chicago exactly two weeks ago, but the Bulls won 114-113.

Butler posted on Instagram a reaction to the injury.

Saturday's game will be the returns of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn to Minnesota after they went the other direction in the Butler trade on draft night last June.