Bulls optimistic about Dwyane Wade's progress 

Bulls optimistic about Dwyane Wade's progress 

Dwyane Wade was in full lather after the morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden, as optimism increases that he'll be back for the Bulls this season after suffering a right elbow injury a couple weeks ago.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg declined to say whether he feels Wade will be back before the end of the regular season and Wade declined comment altogether, but with the increased intensity of Wade's workouts suggests there's a light at the end of the tunnel — be it a probable playoff showing or sometime sooner.

"It's a day by day thing with Dwyane now," Hoiberg said. "He's feeling better but obviously there's a lot of work to do as far as getting his strength back."

Wade went through his first workout before the Bulls played Cleveland last Thursday at the United Center, and he still isn't cleared for contact so there's still more hurdles to clear before one can realistically expect Wade to get back on the floor.

"He has a little pain in that elbow when he's done working out," Hoiberg said. "But the important thing is he's making progress and hopefully he'll continue to take steps in the right direction and we'll get him back at some point in the season."

The fact the Bulls are going for five straight wins and playing better basketball all around belies the fact they are a better team when Wade is playing — one can just assume the Bulls can find a way to blend this new identity with a guy who can score 25 on a given night.

Especially someone who can alleviate the pressure from Jimmy Butler, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

"That's what great players, hall of fame players do," Butler said. "They pick up where they left off. I know he's gonna do that. I'm constantly in his ear, he's constantly in mine about what he sees, what I see. It's different when you're not playing and you're watching. There's a lot of things we can be better at."

Butler suffered the same injury in the 2014-15 season and missed a month, so he knows Wade will have to go through the mental test of getting bumped on the elbow again through regular contact and not worrying about it.

"We definitely need that guy, as everybody knows," Butler said. "We want him to come back where he's not protecting anything, he's hooping and playing 110 percent."

Bulls parting ways with guard Michael Carter-Williams

Bulls parting ways with guard Michael Carter-Williams

Don't expect to see Michael Carter-Williams in the fold for the Bulls guard spots next season.

The organization is reportedly declining the qualifying option for the young guard, according to John Paxson on David Kaplan's radio show:

Carter-Williams, 25, was acquired in a trade with the Bucks last October in a move that sent Tony Snell to Milwaukee. Snell — the Bulls' first round pick (20th overall) in 2013 — turned in a career year with the Bucks, averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while making 80 starts.

Meanwhile, Carter-Williams appeared in only 45 games (19 starts) for the Bulls, suffering through the worst season of his professional career. He was drafted 11th overall in the same year the Bulls took Snell and Carter-Williams burst onto the scene with 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Carter-Williams was then traded to the Bucks in February 2015. He shot only 36.6 percent from the field in 2016-17 while averaging 18.8 minutes per game.

The Bulls are stacked at guard with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo currently under contract plus 2016 first-round pick Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant (acquired in the Derrick Rose trade), Cameron Payne (acquired in the Taj Gibson deal), Isaiah Canaan and then Kris Dunn and Zack LaVine (who were both acquired in the Jimmy Butler blockbuster last week).

Ways to watch, stream Bulls introductory press conference for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen

Ways to watch, stream Bulls introductory press conference for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen

The Chicago Bulls will introduce Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen today, and you can watch on CSN or live stream at CSNChicago.com/watchlive.

Tune in as coverage starts at 11 a.m. with players set to take the podium. 

The trio was acquired in the Bulls' trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. LaVine is rehabbing from a torn ACL, which cut his strong campaign short last season. Dunn is coming into his second season and was a player Gar/Pax thought highly of in last year's draft. Markkanen is a stretch-four that was drafted out of Arizona with the No. 7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

Read more about the new Bulls in Mark Strotman's scouting report.