Bulls

Fred Hoiberg plans to slightly cut Jimmy Butler's minutes

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Fred Hoiberg plans to slightly cut Jimmy Butler's minutes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Individual absolutes have been few for the Bulls in recent years, despite their overall successes in the win column but one thing is for certain: finding Jimmy Butler’s name atop the league leaders in minutes played.

At first it was Luol Deng but now Butler has taken his place as the NBA’s Ironman. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Butler has averaged nearly 39 minutes per contest in 132 games—a full minute more per game than Carmelo Anthony, next on the list at 37.7 minutes per contest.

But Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg hopes to shave off some minutes for Butler this season, with the thought he won’t be worn down come playoff time, when the tread on the tires begin to show. Of the top 10 players in minutes per game during that stretch, only LeBron James can realistically say he plays both ends of the floor hard, but even he doesn’t play defense as consistently as Butler has been known to do.

[MORE: Joakim Noah's activity a bright spot in Bulls' loss to Hornets]

“We’ll see how that plays out,” Hoiberg said. “I would like to have him play a little less than that (usual), so at the end of the season he’s fresh. You want all your guys, fresh, not only mentally but physically and hopefully we’ll accomplish that.”

Butler, who signed a maximum contract in restricted free agency this past summer, doesn’t appear to be a huge fan of the strategy to bring his minutes down, but even if Hoiberg manages to achieve it, Butler will still be high on the list.

“I’m fine with where I’m at. It’s a body thing,” Butler said. “If I’m feeling good enough to play however many minutes, then we gotta go with that. As of right now I’m healthy. I’ll play as many minutes as necessary.”

It’s no secret one division between former coach Tom Thibodeau and the front office was his usage of players. But Butler flourished under Thibodeau and seems to take pride in his high endurance.

[RELATED: Hoiberg wants a more aggressive Jimmy Butler before season starts]

He won’t acknowledge getting fatigued, even though there was talk from the Milwaukee Bucks players in the first round of last season’s playoffs that Butler mentioned how tired he was to them.

Perhaps a little gamesmanship or an admittance to fellow athletes who know what that grind is like.

“There’s no need for that, to tell you the truth. Even if I am tired I really can’t show it, so there’s no sense in being tired,” Butler said. “My team needs me to produce. Oct. 27 (Season opener) is coming soon, so we gotta be prepared for it.”

With Butler’s contract and new standing in the league and on the team, the Bulls appear to be taking steps to conserve his energy so he can be effective when it matters the most. It could be part of the reason Hoiberg doesn’t want to start Doug McDermott while Mike Dunleavy recovers from back surgery, because it would essentially guarantee Butler would have to defend the opposing team’s best perimeter.

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If the Bulls start the more defensive-minded Tony Snell, it gives the Bulls the option of switching Butler on or off said player, or choosing to save Butler for the offensive end altogether.

Doesn’t look like Butler is buying it, though. He played a team-high 37 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets, and believes when it comes down to it, he’ll be in front of the likes of Anthony and James.

“I really haven’t thought about it. I’m gonna guard the opposing team’s best player, I think that’s what it’ll come down to at the end of the day,” Butler said. “We’ll see coming soon. I can’t say what we’re gonna do. It’s about helping the team win, whatever the strategy is that particular game we gotta go with it.”

NBA unveils logo for NBA All-Star 2020, which will take place in Chicago

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USA TODAY

NBA unveils logo for NBA All-Star 2020, which will take place in Chicago

A year from now, Chicago will be on the NBA's center stage in that they will be hosting the NBA's 2020 All-Star weekend. 

Sunday, Team LeBron took down Team Giannis 178-164 in Charlotte to capture the 2019 NBA All-Star Game crown. Despite next year's game being a year away, the NBA unveiled the logo for the 2020 game, which the Bulls will host at the United Center.

According to the Bulls, the logo "features elements from the iconic Chicago flag including four red six-pointed stars and two horizontal blue stripes. The Chicago Bulls’ signature font and team colors – red and black – are also incorporated into the logo scheme."

During Sunday's game, Bulls legend and Charlotte Hornets chairman Michael Jordan passed off the ceremonial 2020 All-Star Game basketball to Bulls president and COO, Michael Reinsdorf. 

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 16. It will be the 69th edition of the annual exhibition matchup.

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Matt Nagy calls Michael Jordan ‘the greatest athlete to ever play a sport’

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AP

Matt Nagy calls Michael Jordan ‘the greatest athlete to ever play a sport’

The NBA All-Start weekend is here, and you can bet Matt Nagy will keep an eye on the action.

The Bears head coach is a lifelong basketball fan, and he even weighed in on the “greatest of all time” debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

He ranked the top 10 NBA players of his lifetime for the team’s official site, and of course, he put the Chicago legend at the top of his list.

“This is the greatest athlete to ever play a sport,” Nagy said. “When the tongue came out… good luck.”

LeBron still came in second, and Nagy was quite complimentary, calling him the “most underappreciated athlete of all time when it comes to being a complete role model on and off the court.”

Two other Los Angeles Lakers legends were next, with Kobe Bryant at three and Magic Johnson at four in Nagy’s list.

Larry Bird came in fifth, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ranked sixth, but Nagy admitted “Kareem would most likely be higher on this list if I wasn’t only 11 years old when he retired.”

Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Shaq and Karl Malone rounded out the top 10.