Zach LaVine to make Bulls debut Saturday vs. Pistons


After being traded in the midst of rehabbing a torn ACL, Zach LaVine is slated to make his Chicago Bulls debut this weekend.

The Chicago Bulls took a big step toward a rebuild on draft night last June, sending Jimmy Butler and a first-round pick (Justin Patton) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and a first-round pick (Lauri Markkanen).

LaVine suffered a torn left ACL last February, and the Bulls have been cautious with his projected timeline to return with an eye on things beyond this season. But the two-time Slam Dunk champion has been making steady progress, at the 11-12 month mark since the injury, and an announcement of when LaVine will make his season debut has been looming.

On Tuesday, that announcement came.

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, via executive VP John Paxson, LaVine will make his Bulls debut Saturday night at home against the Detroit Pistons.

As expected purely based on the nature of his injury, Paxson went further regarding how LaVine will be used as he works his way back into game shape.

LaVine was injured against the Pistons, which is an irony that’s not lost on him as he gets set to make his debut for Chicago.

LaVine was in the midst of a breakout season for the Timberwolves when he went down. He averaged a career-high 18.9 points per game over 47 games, while becoming a notably higher-volume three-point shooter (6.6 attempts and 2.6 makes per game) without a drop in percentage compared to the previous season.

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As Tom Thibodeau sought veteran leadership for a young team and a move to win-now mode, LaVine’s injury cast what kind of contribution he would make for the Timberwolves this year into doubt. But the Bulls and coach Fred Hoiberg will gladly welcome him to their rotation, even in a limited capacity out of the gate.