CSN is looking around the league as we prepare for the 2017-18 NBA season. Today, we break down the Chicago Bulls' outlook...
2016-17 record: 41-41, 8th in East
Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Key additions: SG Zach LaVine, PG Kris Dunn, PF Lauri Markkanen
Key losses: SG Jimmy Butler, PG Rajon Rondo, C Jeffrey Lauvergne, PG Michael Carter-Williams
Projected lineup: PG Kris Dunn, SG Dwyane Wade, SF Denzel Valentine, PF Lauri Markkanen, C Robin Lopez
1. How bad will they be?
Chicago fought through some messy times last season to make the playoffs and earn the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. They even went up 2-0 in the first round on top-seeded Boston, only to then lose the next four games and be eliminated. Instead of building on that, the Bulls decided to rebuild entirely. They traded Butler to the Timberwolves and now appear set on taking a few steps back to accrue top draft picks. Next summer is another strong draft, particularly at the top with Marvin Bagley and Michael Porter, Jr. available. The Bulls are expected to be among the worst teams in basketball, so we'll see if they get their wish with a top lottery pick.
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2. What impact will the T'Wolves additions make?
The Bulls were part of one of the summer's biggest trades, but many feel they didn't get enough back from Minnesota for Butler, especially considering they gave up their own first round pick. In come Dunn, LaVine and Markkanen as the Bulls hope to build around a talented young core of players. Dunn had a rough rookie season after going fifth overall in the 2016 draft, Markkanen was picked seventh in June and LaVine is returning from a torn ACL, an injury that could keep him out until February. All present wild cards, but each represent a big piece of the Bulls' future.
3. Will Wade be around for long?
The Bulls still have Wade on their roster, but it's not clear how long the future Hall of Famer will be in Chicago. He opted in to the second year of his deal and is set to earn $23.8 million in 2017-18, yet recent reports suggest he could be bought out sometime either before the season or during it. Wade would then, many presume, join the Cavs or Heat.
Wade still provides value even at 35. Last year he averaged 18.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 60 games. At this point, however, it's probably best for both sides for Wade to move on. That's a lot of money, but Wade wants to win and the Bulls aren't expected to.
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