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Hoiberg back in the NBA: Right place, right time with Bulls

I caught up with former Wolves player and executive Fred Hoiberg after the Bulls shootaround in Winnipeg before tonight's game against the Timberwolves.

A couple things from our conversation:

He said it was the chance to coach at the highest level with a team that can contend for the title that got him to leave what could have been a lifetime job in his hometown at Iowa State to come back to the NBA. Doesn't sound like he'll miss recruiting a bit. He sounded happy doing a job that's all about basketball, said college coaching is half basketball and the rest recruiting, making sure players go to class, etc.

He acknowledge he had talks with Flip Saunders about the Wolves coaching job both in 2014 before Flip hired himself as coach and then after last season when the Wolves had a coach, Saunders himself.

He called them all "informal" conversations.

"I talked to him a little bit, it never really got serious," Hoiberg said. "I know he was excited about this group and as well he should be. It's a really good team he put together. I really think Flip and Milt (Newton) and Rob (Babcock) and everybody has done a really good job putting that team together. It's an exciting team, an athletic team. I think they have a very bright future."

For those of you in Wolves Nation disappointed that Flip didn't do what needed to be done to get Hoiberg back in Minnesota...he mentioned the "right opportunity" multiple times, which I took as code for a team that can win now, which the Wolves aren't. His long relationship with Bulls GM Gar Forman and a city/team where he played before and knows.

He also expressed his concern for Flip's fight against cancer.

"Obviously we're thinking about him and praying for him," Hoiberg said. "I hope everything turns out OK for him. He has had a big impact on my life. Flip's a good friend. We all wish the best for him."


Rubio, Miller out for Saturday vs. Bulls

The Wolves are in Winnipeg to play Chicago and new coach Fred Hoiberg Saturday night but they will do so with only half of their four point-guard contingent.

Ricky Rubio didn't practice Friday other than doing some individual and isn't yet ready to play because of what the team at first called a minor quad strain.

Andre Miller was excused to leave the team for a few days so he could attend to a personal matter(s) and is expected to rejoin the team in time for Monday's game at Toronto.

That leaves the point-guard load now again to rookie Tyus Jones and Lorenzo Brown.

Saturday's game, in case you're wondering, will be on NBA TV, starting at 7 pm Central time.

Rubio traveled with the Wolves to Winnipeg but no indication yet when or if he'll play on this three-game trip that concludes Wednesday in Ottawa against the Raptors.

Sam Mitchell was asked Friday if he is concerned about the practice and game time Rubio has missed this week.

"Well, we have concerns, but we still have a lot of time before opening night," Mitchell said. "Ricky's doing his work, so we'll just see. He's doing some individual stuff, just not the live stuff."

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Gophers football at Purdue

    2:30pm on ESPN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Timberwolves vs. Chicago (preseason)

    6pm on NBATV, 830-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    7pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Lynx at Indiana

    7:30pm on ESPN, 106.1-FM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto (preseason)

    6:30pm on 830-AM

  • Timberwolves vs. Toronto (preseason)

    6pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Phoenix

    9pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State


  • Minnesota Duluth at Gophers men's hockey

    7pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Los Angeles

    9:30pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State


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