LaVine to make Bulls debut Saturday

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine will make his long-awaited debut for the team on Saturday against Detroit, general manager John Paxson confirmed Tuesday morning.

A key part of the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota in the offseason, LaVine has been steadily increasing his basketball activities as he recovers from ACL surgery. He has spent time in recent weeks practicing with the Bulls and the team’s G League affiliate.

The former Slam Dunk champion is now ready to return to game action, with Paxton saying that he will play about 20 minutes per game at the outset as the Bulls take a “conservative” approach. LaVine also will not play in both games of Chicago’s one back-to-back before the All-Star break.

“I’m just happy to be back,” LaVine said after shootaround on Tuesday. “When I found out, I got a little bit of the butterflies … I got excited.”

Adding the offensive firepower of LaVine, who was in the midst of a breakout season in Minnesota when he was hurt, should help ease the burden on Nikola Mirotic and standout rookie Lauri Markkanen, not to mention fellow playmaker and former Timberwolves player Kris Dunn.

LaVine averaged 18.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for Minnesota last season.

“We’re excited and his teammates are excited,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We need to be patient with this process.”

–Field Level Media

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