For a team that lost out on Carmelo Anthony and has a major star attempting a comeback from injury, there is an awful lot of good news floating around the Chicago Bulls.
It's the offseason, a period when every team thinks of itself as a contender, and every injury—no matter how severe—is on the right track.
But the Bulls are an especially interesting case, as the front office entered the offseason with every intention of getting over the hump—or bust. Rather than appear lost after missing Anthony, the team put together a nice draft class, cleared some dead weight and landed veteran big man Pau Gasol, per ESPN Chicago.
The flow of good news hasn't stopped, though, so let's round up the latest to keep the pace.
Bulls Clean House
That aforementioned dead weight included three players who simply did not have a place on the roster after recent moves by the front office in the Windy City.
According to NBA.com, the team waived a trio of names to make way for the future—forward Lou Amundson and guards Ronnie Brewer and Mike James. Sports On Earth's Sean Highkin put it best:
This was a formality but the Bulls have waived Mike James, Ronnie Brewer and Lou Amundson.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) July 15, 2014
Amundson, 31, has spent 12 years in the league and never appeared in a full 82-game season, tallying just one game with the Bulls a year ago.
After being the No. 14 overall pick in 2006, Brewer has failed to find any footing and was last seen playing one game with Chicago and 23 more with Houston. Mike James is now 39 years of age and appeared in 11 games with the team last season.
The moves have little to do with cap space at this point, considering they were not guaranteed, and no teams biting on the trade market, and everything to do with simply having room for new faces like Gasol.
That move does much to free up playing time for a wealth of new faces, including the man who owns the next item on the list.
Doug McDermott Explodes
In a draft that always turns out to be a complete crapshoot (Grantland's Bill Simmons penned an excellent piece on this matter), it is always great to hear a first-round rookie is firing on all cylinders right out of the gate.
For the Bulls and No. 11 overall pick Doug McDermott, that seems to be the case as the Las Vegas Summer League gets underway.
McDermott scoring at an impressive clip is not quite unprecedented, as his legendary collegiate numbers speak for themselves:
But performing in a well-rounded manner right away as a pro is different. Against the Denver Nuggets, he posted 31 points on 12 shots and added five conversions from deep, a rebound and an assist. He followed that up with 20 points, five boards and six assists in his next contest.
The speed of the game is a lot different. College is kind of a slower process, but in the NBA, 24 seconds goes by fast. You have to be able to think on your toes and make quick reactions on defense. It's something I'm still trying to adjust to. I've always been really good at seeing things before they even happen. So that's been one of my bigger strengths, just making really quick decisions [in the passing game].
McDermott's early success confirms what many refuse to believe—the Creighton product is much more than a mere shooter from any distance. He sees the court well, makes good decisions and moves off the ball with smarts befit of a veteran.
Still, it will be hard for McDermott to crack minutes in the 20s as a rookie, but his strong opening act is a great sign of things to come.
Derrick Rose "Is Well Recovered"
"If" seems to be the operative keyword surrounding Derrick Rose's career at this point.
As Fox Sports' Sam Amico puts it, the health of Rose once again hangs over the team, regardless of what it accomplished this offseason:
Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol will be a pretty intriguing frontcourt combo. If Derrick Rose healthy, Bulls suddenly real contender again.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 13, 2014
That sounds simple enough, right? The man who took home the MVP award in 2011 and averaged more than 20 points and six assists in each season between 2009-2011 is plenty valuable for a franchise looking to contend in a weak Eastern Conference.
The highlight of the good news this offseason comes from Gasol himself, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
In interview with Spanish daily Marca, Pau Gasol said Derrick Rose "is well recovered" and he's "not worried about" Rose's health.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 18, 2014
Yes, we've been down this road before and heard the same song and dance, but it seems different this time around. If Gasol had any concern at all about Rose's health, why would he, at 34 years of age and with his prime and shot at a title fading, still come to Chicago?
The short answer is simple—he wouldn't.
We'll know sooner rather than later if any positive rumblings around Rose are true with his participation with Team USA coming up. Until then, fans can do nothing more than wait with crossed fingers.