Luol Deng will return to the starting lineup for the Bulls tonight as they host the Charlotte Bobcats.
The All-Star small forward missed the past five games with a right hamstring injury he suffered on Jan. 18 in an overtime win at Boston.
Coincidentally, it is Luol Deng bobblehead night at the United Center.
The move will mean Jimmy Butler is headed back to the bench.
Butler averaged 14.2 points, 8.6 rebounds in 45.2 minutes during the five games Deng sat out. He also shot 95 percent from the free throw line (22-of-23) as the Bulls went 3-2 in that span.
Despite reverting back to his old role, it wont deter the second-year forwards approach.
I feel great. Glad to have Luol back, Butler told reporters after the Bulls morning practice. Were just gonna keep rolling, same role coming off the bench and just try to keep winning games.
While Butlers play has proved hes deserving of more playing time with Deng back in action, coach Tom Thibodeau just wants to continue doing whats best for the team.
Jimmy is a big part of the team and Lu has been huge for us, Thibodeau said. We know we have flexibility. We can play Lu and Jimmy together, so whatever the team needs. You also have to look at all your wings. You have to look at Rip and Marco. Its good to have everyone back, but were going to do whats best for the team.
Don't expect to see Michael Carter-Williams in the fold for the Bulls guard spots next season.
The organization is reportedly declining the qualifying option for the young guard, according to John Paxson on David Kaplan's radio show:
Carter-Williams, 25, was acquired in a trade with the Bucks last October in a move that sent Tony Snell to Milwaukee. Snell — the Bulls' first round pick (20th overall) in 2013 — turned in a career year with the Bucks, averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while making 80 starts.
Meanwhile, Carter-Williams appeared in only 45 games (19 starts) for the Bulls, suffering through the worst season of his professional career. He was drafted 11th overall in the same year the Bulls took Snell and Carter-Williams burst onto the scene with 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Carter-Williams was then traded to the Bucks in February 2015. He shot only 36.6 percent from the field in 2016-17 while averaging 18.8 minutes per game.
The Bulls are stacked at guard with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo currently under contract plus 2016 first-round pick Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant (acquired in the Derrick Rose trade), Cameron Payne (acquired in the Taj Gibson deal), Isaiah Canaan and then Kris Dunn and Zack LaVine (who were both acquired in the Jimmy Butler blockbuster last week).
The Chicago Bulls will introduce Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen today, and you can watch on CSN or live stream at CSNChicago.com/watchlive.
Tune in as coverage starts at 11 a.m. with players set to take the podium.
The trio was acquired in the Bulls' trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. LaVine is rehabbing from a torn ACL, which cut his strong campaign short last season. Dunn is coming into his second season and was a player Gar/Pax thought highly of in last year's draft. Markkanen is a stretch-four that was drafted out of Arizona with the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Read more about the new Bulls in Mark Strotman's scouting report.