Originally written on Universal Takeover Sports Network  |  Last updated 9/30/13
Team Preview: Chicago Bulls Fifth on the list is the Chicago Bulls. The Chicago Bulls will be a very interesting team to watch this season, primarily because the center of attention will be focused on the return of their star, Derrick Rose. However, the big question that everyone will look at is how does he return from the injury? Rose was hurt two seasons ago in a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers. More than a year later, Rose finds himself motivated to make an impact and show the critics that he is just as good as he was before the injury. While an ACL injury is an injury that not all athletes can fully recover from, it will be interesting to see how Derrick Rose recovers from it considering his style of play. Let’s focus back on the Chicago Bulls as a whole.  Chicago finished last season with a 45-37 record, good enough to give them the fifth seed. That being said, they squared off against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round and won in seven games after an intense series. They went on to face the Miami Heat in the second round, but were outlasted in simply five games. The Bulls have many positives to look forward to including the emergence of Jimmy Butler last season. Before we delve any further, let’s take a look at what the Bulls did this offseason Key Additions Key Losses Mike Dunleavy Nate Robinson Tony Snell (Draft) Marco Bellinelli Erik Murphy (Draft) Richard Hamilton   Malcolm Thomas   One of the biggest losses for the Bulls this offseason was Nate Robinson. Robinson played exceptionally well as he filled the starter role for the majority of the season filling in for the injured Derrick Rose. Nate was able to carry the Bulls past the first round with his strong play and streaky shooting in the playoffs. However, the loss of Nate simply increases the weight on Rose’s shoulders as he won’t have a player like Robinson to relieve him whenever he needs a rest. This season will be important for Kirk Hinrich as he has to fill in that backup PG role. On the other hand, the Bulls were able to reel in Mike Dunleavy as a free agent. The benefit of having Dunleavy is that he fits perfectly in Chicago especially in an offense that is built around Derrick Rose. Dunleavy brings in his versatility and a shooting hand to Chicago. The Bulls will return to their solid starting five that will look like this (projected): Derrick Rose Jimmy Butler Carlos Boozer Joakim Noah Luol Deng   Without a doubt, Jimmy Butler has won the shooting guard position earning him a spot in the starting five. Butler’s strong play down the stretch and in the postseason all but sealed the deal for him. He’s a young player with a huge upside. Tom Thibodeau took a liking onto him as well, and Butler has a lot to learn still, and who better to teach him than Thibodeau himself? Let’s take a look into the Bulls’ salary and see what they are working with: Name 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 Derrick Rose $17,632,688 $18,862,876 $20,093,064 $21,323,252   Carlos Boozer $15,300,000 $16,800,000       Luol Deng $14,275,000         Joakim Noah $11,100,000 $12,200,000 $13,400,000     Taj Gibson $7,550,000 $8,000,000 $8,500,000 $8,950,000   Kirk Hinrich $4,059,000         Mike Dunleavy $3,183,000 $3,326,235       Tony Snell $1,409,040 $1,472,400 $1,535,880 $2,368,327 $3,393,813 Jimmy Butler $1,112,880 $2,008,748 $3,013,122     Marquis Teague $1,074,720 $1,120,920 $2,023,261 $3,034,892   Dexter Pittman $884,293         Dahntay Jones $884,293         Nazr Mohammed $884,293         Mike James $884,293         D.J. White $884,293         Erik Murphy $490,180 $816,482 $1,147,276     Patrick Christopher $490,180 $1,016,482       Kalin Lucas $490,180 $1,016,482       Richard Hamilton – X $333,334 $333,333 $333,333     Guaranteed Total: $78,163,955 $60,994,844 $42,326,397 $30,273,252   Inclusive Total: $82,921,667 $66,973,958 $50,045,936 $35,676,471 $3,393,813   The Bulls have some room to work with in their salary especially with seven contracts set to expire at the end of this upcoming season. The biggest name on this list is of course, Luol Deng. Deng has been a huge key in the success of this team. However, it has been rumored that Deng will hit the free agency market at the end of the season. This may be a good thing for Chicago or a bad one. It could be a good one because they would get rid of a $14,275,000 contract and possibly replace it with a younger player for a fairer price. On the other hand, the Bulls could struggle and not be able to find their replacement at the 3 spot for years. It’s an interesting debate at the least. Another player whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season is Kirk Hinrich. What do the Bulls do with this expiring contract? Do they re-sign him to continue to back Derrick Rose up for the years to come, or do they go in another direction? It’s a big year for Kirk Hinrich especially in a contract year. Predictions: I personally think the Bulls are a good enough team without Derrick Rose and they could make the postseason without him as we all saw last year, but the return of Rose almost guarantees them a spot in the playoffs. I see the Bulls ending 5th in the Eastern Conference.  I say, keep an eye out for the Bulls. It will be interesting to see how they perform against the East this season.  Many revamped teams are looking to make a push to become contenders so how the Bulls manage to play against the latter half of the East as well as the top will be interesting. When all five starters come together, they have excellent chemistry as we have seen in the previous years. The Bulls have some pieces to work with and the duo of Rose and Butler will be fascinating not only this year, but for many more in the future years to come!   (Salary table courtesy of hoopsworld.com) The post Team Preview: Chicago Bulls appeared first on UTSN - The Universal Takeover Sports Network.
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