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Dwyane Wade at Bulls media day on Sept. 26, 2016 at the Advocate Center. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Dwyane Wade at Bulls media day on Sept. 26, 2016 at the Advocate Center. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

By Matthew Barbato, Evanston Township 

There was a lot of movement on the Bulls’ roster this past offseason, following their first season without a playoff appearance since 2007-08. One of the toughest changes was having to say goodbye to Derrick Rose, who was the heart, soul, and face of the program for many years. While there were a few tough goodbyes, the Bulls held onto the core group of Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson among others. With this foundation of players plus a few key offseason pickups, the Bulls should be pretty confident about the upcoming season. Here are some of the notable changes:

Notable new players:

Robin Lopez:

Acquired in the Derrick Rose deal with the Knicks, this 7’ 0’’ center will likely be a starter in the 2016-17 season. Last year Lopez averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, shooting 54% from the field. With the loss of Joakim Noah, Fred Hoiberg will likely look to Lopez to fill his shoes.

Michael Carter-Williams:

This 6’6’’ point guard entered the league with the Philadelphia 76ers, drafted out of Syracuse in 2013. While he is a very young talent at just 25 years old, he has 3 years in the NBA under his belt, and now has a good sense for how to play at the top level. Averaging 11.5 points and 5 rebounds and assists per game last season, Carter-Williams is a versatile   for the Bulls.

Rajon Rondo:

This 6’1’’ point guard was acquired from the Boston Celtics and signed a two-year, $28 million deal with the Bulls. Known for his flashy passes, quickness, and ability to get the the rack, Rondo will be the one to fill the point guard position that was held by Derrick Rose. A pass-first player, Rondo averaged 11.7 assists per game last season.

Denzel Valentine:

Drafted out of Michigan St., this 6’6’’ shooting guard knows how to fill the stat sheet. In his senior year at Michigan St., he averaged 19.2 points per game, along with 7.5 and 7.8 rebounds and assists per game, respectively, and shot 44% from behind the arc. Michigan St. head coach Tom Izzo said that it may be a long time before he coaches a player as special as Valentine.

Dwyane Wade:

This 6’4’’ shooting guard has already has an illustrious NBA career.  He’s a 3 time NBA champion (Finals MVP in 2006), 12 time NBA All-Star, and is currently 11th in all time playoff scoring, to name just a few of his achievements in the league.He will be an experienced leader for this fairly young Bulls team, and still has some gas left in the tank at age 34.#

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