Bulls' Robinson has Seattle reunion vs. Wolves

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Bulls' Robinson has Seattle reunion vs. Wolves

On one hand, Timberwolves point guard Will Conroy, a journeyman hoping to make Minnesotas roster, isnt at those Berto Center practices, so he doesnt know the wrath of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

On the other hand, hes known Nate Robinson since their pre-teen days and played alongside him at the University of Washington.

I think Nates smart enough to figure it out. One thing I know about Nate is Nates going to be Nate. Thats the reason why hes in the position hes in, being successful in the NBA. Sometimes they say what your strength is also your weakness, Conroy told CSNChicago.com, referencing, in part, his fellow Seattle natives off-the-backboard alley-oop in the Bulls win Tuesday over Milwaukee.

Hes smart enough to adapt to where he knows, Okay, I need to get on the floor. Im not going to do that, and when youre successful at a high rate, coaches are going to allow it. I think the play was completed and Jimmy Butler finished it with a dunk, right? So it didnt look bad on SportsCenter.

Conroy has known Robinson since the diminutive freak athlete was making a name in the sport that he was awarded a scholarship to college for... football.

He played for the rival team of my little league football team, so Ive kind of known Nate since we were in middle school, Conroy said of Robinson, who was a freshman starter at defensive back for Washington before giving up the sport to play basketball on a full-time basis, and whose father, Jacques, was an NFL player.

Just like Darren Sproles. Hes the same kind of talent. Nate, hes one of those guys, when he gets the ball in his hands, its so hard to bring him down. Watching him play football, he scored like six or seven touchdowns in a high school game. He was one of those guys, when the ball gets in his hands, hes going to make something special happen.

When Conroy and Robinson played together at Washington, Conroy was the Huskies point guard and Timberwolves starting shooting guard Brandon Roy, also shared some of the ballhandling duties. Robinson was mostly deployed as a scorer, something hes known as in the NBA, but Conroy, a traditional playmaker whos excelled in the D-League but has yet to find a permanent NBA home, thinks his former teammate has made a lot of progress.

Hes made great adjustments. Hes matured so much at the point-guard position. I thought it started a lot when he went to Boston and kind of continued on when he was in Golden State, and I watched him play when he played us in Minnesota last week, he observed. Hes really starting to understand the position, and pick and choose when to get his, and look for other guys continuously. Ive thought, so far, hes done a great job in transitioning to being a true point guard.

Friday was a bit of Seattle and Washington reunion, as Robinson and Conroy guarded each other for a stretch, with Roy also on the court.

All Seattle people are a close-knit group. We all worked out in the summertime together and we all root for each other, said Conroy. When we see each other doing well, it just gives Seattle a bright spot.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.