• This past summer, the Wolves and the Bulls hooked up on a deal that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, while Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine went to Chicago. Taj Gibson was also traded at the deadline last year and has yet to play against Chicago after spending his first eight seasons there.

    This makes for a major reunion between the teams for a collection of players that are well respected by their former organizations. Add in Brooks’ short time in Chicago and of course Tom Thibodeau’s tenure as head coach and there’s sure to be plenty of banter and friendly competition going on.┬áThere will be some extra motivation on both sides.

    The direction of both teams was abundantly clear after the results of the trade. The Wolves were ready to win, which is why they wanted Butler, while the Bulls were ready to move on and rebuild, which is why they wanted youth. So far this season each team has acted according to plan.

    Butler and his influences have played a huge factor in the Wolves’ 34-23 record and fourth-place start, while Kris Dunn has developed into a significantly better player than he was at any point last year. They used the Wolves’ draft pick on Lauri Markkanen, who is currently their second-leading scorer behind LaVine.

    In fact the top-three scorers for the Bulls are the three players they acquired in the trade, while Butler is the leading scorer for the Wolves. Things have worked out for both sides nicely so far in a rare “win-win” trade.

    That being said the Bulls are still a poor basketball team and, despite the extra emotions on the floor, the Wolves are in a position to take this game without much resistance. The Bulls are 18-35, and outside of a stretch where they went 15-8 they have been terrible.

    The future of their franchise rests in the hands of the three players they acquired from Minnesota, along with the player they select in the upcoming draft. Even with some extra motivation to beat the heart of the team they once were, the Wolves will come out with that very same desire.

    Key Matchup:

    – Jimmy Butler vs. Zach LaVine

    As a member of the Wolves during some real tough seasons, LaVine stood out during his tenure as an easy player for Wolves’ fans to gravitate towards. Not only is he a dynamic player on the floor as a combo guard with top-end athleticism and scoring ability, but he’s an excellent person off the court.

    He was the toughest piece to part with for Minnesota but a necessary price to acquire Butler. The two will face off in this matchup and LaVine will certain play with a chip on his shoulder. He’s coming off an ACL tear and isn’t quite up to his usual speed yet but has gradually been ramping up the activity.

    Over his last three games he’s averaging 23.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.3 3-pointers on 46.9 percent shooting overall and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc in 28.3 minutes per game.

    Jimmy Butler will, once again, have the honors of tackling the toughest matchup. While LaVine won’t quite have his top-end athleticism on display, he still makes for an uncomfortable assignment to guard. The added pressure of returning to Chicago adds a bit of extra drama to the scenario as well.

    Butler tend to let those distractions wash right over him.

    Lineups:

    Jeff Teague – PG

    Jimmy Butler – SG

    Andrew Wiggins – SF

    Taj Gibson – PF

    Karl-Anthony Towns – C

    vs.

    Jerian Grant – PG

    Zach LaVine – SG

    Justin Holiday – SF

    Lauri Markkanen – PF

    Robin Lopez – C

    Injuries:

    Omer Asik (trade) – QUESTIONABLE

    Kris Dunn (concussion) – OUT

    Lauri Markkanen (personal) – PROBABLE

    Cameron Payne (foot) – OUT

    Willie Reed (suspended) – OUT

    Noah Vonleh (trade) – OUT

    Where to Watch:

    9:30 ET/8:30 CT on Fox Sports North and ESPN

Fantasy News

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    The Warriors opened their practice facility on Monday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

    Slater adds that five players showed up for voluntary workouts. It's the first time that Golden State's gym has been open in over two months, and there are only three teams who have yet to get players back into team facilities. While it must be nice for the players to get back to some kind of business, the Warriors are not expected to be playing any more games this season given their league-worst record and the likelihood that the NBA trims the fat rather than ask every team to play out the season.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • Kz Okpala
    F, Miami Heat

    Kz Okpala's offensive game has come a long way since January according to Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon.

    Okpala is already viewed as an NBA-ready defender, and once his offensive game is up to speed the Heat will have a hard time not getting him into the rotation. He spent 20 games in the G League and five with the Heat before the suspension slowed down his progression in 2020. Okpala got off to a slow start due to injuries, and a trade on draft day took away his chance to play in summer league. While this season is unlikely to amount to anything, Okpala is someone to watch in deeper leagues next year.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Gabe Vincent
    PG, Miami Heat

    Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon, stated that Gabe Vincent's knee is "good to go".

    It sounds like Vincent would have no problem being NBA ready if the Heat decided to call up the two-way guard when play hopefully resumes July 31. Vincent is a strong 3-point shooter with the ability to attack a closeout, but it is still unlikely the Heat will need to put him on the floor for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Shake Milton
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    According to projections by Mike O'Connor and Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Shake Milton will be a starter for the Sixers whenever play relaunches.

    Milton was thriving for the Sixers when the season was suspended due to COVID-19, and some risk remains that Ben Simmons will bump him from the rotation when the stoppage in play is lifted. In 16 starts with the Sixers, Milton averaged 14.1 points, 2.2 3-pointers, 3.6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. As a 3-pointer specialist along, Milton has earned a slot in 12-team formats, but things are going to be more difficult when he is forced to play off-ball in a fully healthy lineup in Philadelphia

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    On a recent ESPN podcast featuring Adrian Wojnarowski and his colleague Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski stated that Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) would not play for the Nets this year.

    Wojnarowski went onto say that he had no source that had relayed that information to him. The Nets have largely been deferring to Durant and the medical staff when it comes to his prospects for playing this year. While the organization may get hopeful that KD will lace it up for a playoff run, all signs are still pointing to him waiting until 2020-21.

    Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

    Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.

    Source: The Athletic

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.

    The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Bradley Beal
    SG, Washington Wizards

    On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.

    The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.

    Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter

  • Julius Randle
    PF, New York Knicks

    Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.

    Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.

    Source: SNY.tv

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.

    That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.

    Source: Celtics PR on Twitter