Published On: Fri, Aug 19th, 2016

Butler wants to guard Bulls teammate Mirotic in semifinals

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Chicago Bulls fans have seen this one before.

One of the famous stories about the Dream Team from Barcelona 1992 concerns a trio of Bulls. The team had finally signed Croatian forward Tony Kukoc after years of pursuit, but Scottie Pippen wasn’t thrilled about the lavish addition, since he was perennially underpaid.

So when Team USA got a chance to play Croatia in the Olympics, Pippen and Michael Jordan made life hell for Kukoc by hounding him on every play. He could hardly get the ball up the court.

“We wanted to guard him on the bench,” Pippen recalled years later.

Fast-forward 24 years, and a pair of Bulls are once again locking horns.

Nikola Mirotic chirped Jimmy Butler on Twitter ahead of Friday’s semifinals between Spain and the United States, and now Butler is hoping for payback.

“Any matchup is fun, but definitely when you’re going against somebody who’s on your NBA team,” Butler told Sam Amick of USA Today. “It’ll be a nice matchup … I hope I get switched out onto him (on defense).”

Mirotic should see plenty of playing time, since he starts at power forward for Spain, but Butler might not get a chance to guard him. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has elected to bring him off the bench, and the Bulls star has only logged more than 20 minutes once during the tournament. Mirotic, though, should watch out if and when Butler checks in.

“I’m gonna foul him,” Butler joked.



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