The more things change with the Chicago Bulls, somehow, the more they feel the same.
After the emotional end of the 2011-12 season, including a serious knee injury to Derrick Rose, the summer brought intriguing player movement all over the NBA. In Chicago, a few players left and were replaced by a couple familiar faces.
With Rose missing to begin the season while he continues recovering from his knee injury, and as CJ Watson moved on in free agency, the Bulls needed stability in their backcourt. Thankfully, long-time Bulls captain Kirk Hinrick was interested in returning to the United Center. After seven great years in Chicago, Hinrich split the last two seasons between three teams. Now, however, he's back to lead the Bulls while Rose rehabs.
The Big Men
Omer Asik signed with the Houston Rockets, leaving a need for a big man to back-up Joakim Noah. The Bulls filled that gap with a Nazr Mohammed, who grew up just miles from the United Center and attended Kenwood Academy before playing at Kentucky. Since leaving Chicago, Mohammed has played in over 800 NBA games for seven franchises, and brings home championship rings from both the college and NBA levels (2005 - San Antonio).
The Bench Mob
Former Slam Dunk Contest champion Nate Robinson, Marco Belinenlli and first round pick Marquis Teague will join the loved "Bench Mob," while Carlos Boozer, Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng and Noah return in hopes of capturing another division title and more.
Under coach Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls led the NBA in team defense last year, and that defense will be key during an exciting early schedule.
The Sacramento Kings open the 2012-13 NBA season at the United Center on Halloween night. The Bulls will also host the Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks during the season's first month.
For schedule and ticket information for the exciting season of NBA hoops at the UC, check out the Bulls site.