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."