Sources: Dwyane Wade plans to return Saturday vs. Nets

Sources: Dwyane Wade plans to return Saturday vs. Nets

Saturday night is the target date for Dwyane Wade's return to the Bulls lineup from his right elbow injury, sources tell CSNChicago.com.

Wade will play under a minute restriction upon his return before getting himself acclimated to heavy minutes, as there will be three regular season games after Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

He is definitively out against the 76ers but Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was noncommittal about anything beyond that, and this was the reason. Wade has gone through practices recently and has begun ramping up his workouts with the thought of returning in the regular season.

"Dwyane was able to participate in a lot in lot of the contact drills," Hoiberg said after Wednesday's practice. "The big thing is getting his conditioning and wind and timing but it was great to see him out there."

[BULLS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Wade initially fractured bones in his shooting elbow on March 15 against the Memphis Grizzlies and the initial thought was his regular season would be over given the initial prognosis of a recovery period, but if he clears enough hurdles as far as conditioning and soreness, he'll be in the lineup Saturday night.

The Bulls have gone 6-4 in his absence and are tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference with games against lottery teams remaining. In theory, the Bulls could move up to sixth, but they could also slide out of the postseason with more underwhelming performances, exemplified by their 100-91 loss to the New York Knicks.

"It'd be great to get him back," Hoiberg said. "You look at last night's game, it would've been nice to have a guy to playmake and put the ball in the basket when we were really struggling in that area."

Wade, the Bulls' second-leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, is also the Bulls' most experienced playoff performer and in theory, will be fresh for the postseason.

The Bulls have altered their style of play with Wade out, giving more responsibility to Rajon Rondo, and their 3-point shooting has increased. Getting Wade back in the lineup means there will be an adjustment on both sides, but considering playoff basketball is a different brand, the Bulls could have the best of both worlds if its blended properly.

"When he's ready to go, we'll get him back out there," Hoiberg said. "I'm sure we'll have to have a little restriction on his minutes, hopefully we'll get him back in rhythm these last few games."

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.