Tight salary-cap restrictions meant another relatively quiet offseason for the Chicago Bulls, but the team is getting its young players ready for the season ahead while the veterans slowly work their way back to Chicago to begin training camp.
Both head coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman spoke with Chuck Swirsky on Bulls TV earlier this week about how the offseason has been going, what the team's health is like and why this season should be another successful one for the six-time NBA champions.
Thibodeau said the rookies and second-year players are currently working to get their routine established after competing in the Summer League.
[RELATED: Four Bulls make Top 100 of 2017 list]
Since the end of Summer League they've been playing every day, continuing on both on the floor and in our weight room," Thibodeau said of his young players. "So they've done a good job and, of course, a number of our players have been in and out throughout the course of the summer."
Thibodeau noted Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler as two players who have been frequent visitors of the Berto Center in Deerfield, while Forman said Derrick Rose, whose Adidas tour has taken him overseas for a part of the summer, is feeling great and will be ready for training camp.
"He continues to make great progress," Forman said of Rose. "And he's had a good summer of work, he's been in L.A., he's training on a regular basis, he feels good, he's looked good, he's got a couple trips with Adidas where he's traveled overseas, so everything's real positive on the Derrick front."
Thibodeau noted he's excited for the team's trip to Rio this preseason, where the Bulls will play the Washington Wizards on Oct. 12. Though the physical travel may take its toll on his players, Thibodeau said the learning experience and team bonding that occurs on such a trip will be worth it for his team later in the season.
It'll be a little hectic but I think it'll be good for our team, and we're looking forward to going over there," he said. "Being on the road early makes it a little different for us because we won't have time in between to really settle down to go over there, and we're only gonna be there four days. But I think it'll be a very positive experience. I like it for team-building reasons, especially early in the season. And then once we get back Rio, we're gonna be home for a while so hopefully we can get our legs under us and continue to build and develop and be ready for the season."
Of the players Forman spoke about, nowhere was he more enthusiastic than talking about the Bulls' first-round pick Tony Snell. The 21-year-old forward put together a solid Summer League campaign -- including a six 3-pointer performance -- and is starting to put the pieces together and show improvement, according to Forman.
What we thought was his make-up and character would fit the culture of what we're doing here and that's proven to be 100 percent correct," he said. "He's lived in [the Berto Center], he comes in every morning, watches film, gets a good hour and a half in on the floor and then he gets his time in the weight room. Hasn't missed a day, we're already seeing progress and growth. I think he's really going to fit in with our locker room and I think he's going to fit in on the floor.
"I thought he had a really nice Summer League for us and you could see his confidence grow each and every game. He's not a mistake player, he defends, he can get through screens, he's got length, he's got athleticism, he can make an open shot and he can handle and pass it some. So really encouraged with what we're seeing from Tony, and encouraged working with him on a daily basis and interacting with him, how well he's fit."