The Chicago Bulls are entering the upcoming season with championship expectations after having Derrick Rose sit out all of last year and since he is expected back at full strength, the team knows that is has a chance to make a title run out of the Eastern conference.
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The team has made some small moves in free agency so far, signing Mike Dunleavy Jr. to a contract after spending last season with the Bucks. According to ESPN.com, Dunleavy turned down other deals to play with the Bulls and he accepted less money so that he could join a roster that included Rose. Dunleavy said that he and Rose have the same agent and that was one reason why he felt comfortable joining the Bulls, although he said he did not speak with the star personally before signing. According to ESPN.com, the Nuggets have shown interest in Nate Robinson, as he is one of the top free agents still available on the market.
The Bulls needed another solid three point shooter heading into the season and Dunleavy fits that bill, as he shot 42.8 percent from beyond the arc last season. The Bulls ranked 20th in the league in long range shooting and the addition of Dunleavy and the return of Rose should help those numbers significantly. Dunleavy has been one of the top three point shooters in the league over the past three seasons and he also said that he was excited to join former Duke teammate Carlos Boozer on the Bulls.
Boozer has been mentioned in various trade talks this offseason, but so far the Bulls haven't pulled a trigger on a deal for him or Luol Deng, who for a time was also a hot name in deals. Dunleavy hasn't had the chance for playoff success through his career and now he likely will get the chance as Rose returns from his injury. The Bulls finished 45-37 last season despite not having Rose and they even won a playoff series against the Nets and one game against the Heat before getting eliminated.
Without Rose the team dropped to 29th in the league in points per game, but since their defense ranked third, they were able to finish in the top part of the Eastern conference. The return of the former MVP will only be a boost to Chicago and with Dunleavy in the fold, the team should be much stronger away from the basket. Deng led the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game lasts season and Joakim Noah showed why he is one of the most versatile players in the league.
The Bulls should be able to challenge all the top teams with Rose back, as the Heat, Nets, Pacers and Knicks should all be strong teams again. The Bulls showed they could win at least one game against a team like the Heat and after the tough seven game series against the Nets, they will be ready for intense basketball next year.