Last year when training camp began, Derrick Rose asked why he couldn't be MVP -- then went out and became the youngest player in league history to win the award.
On Friday, Rose didn't make any promises, but he did tout his new conditioning regimen.
"This is the hardest I've ever worked on my condition in the summer in my entire life," he said. "I think I'm in good shape."
Asked to expand on that thought, Rose said he simply did a lot of running, either on the treadmill or wherever he could find room.
"In my backyard around the tennis court," he said, referring to his off-season home in Los Angeles. "I remember going to Bora Bora just running in my Jacuzzi, just trying to get back in shape. Anything to try to get an extra step on someone. I'll try anything."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was relatively pleased with the first day of practice, but cautioned that every year is different. Winning 62 games last season means little now.
"I felt the energy was very good and the conditioning was better than I thought," Thibodeau said. "We still have a long way to go. It's a start. Our focus is on having a great camp and being ready for the Lakers on opening night."
Here's a radical possibility for the Bulls: Adding both members of the former Pistons backcourt, Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.
While Hamilton agreed to a contract buyout from the Pistons, Billups, 35, is expected to be released by New York through the amnesty clause.
When NBA first created an amnesty clause in 2005, the players waived were free to join any team. This time, things will be different. Teams below the salary cap can bid on those players based on what portion of the existing contract they are willing to take on.
Teams above the cap, like the Bulls, can't use the midlevel exception to join the auction. But if no one bids on a player, he becomes a free agent. Orlando's Gilbert Arenas is also expected to be released through the amnesty clause.
Deng tries new look:
One unusual sight on the opening of Bulls training camp was forward Luol Deng sporting a Mohawk. It wasn't a total punk-rock look or anything, but Deng's head was shaved on the sides and long in the center.
"I'm not getting a Mohawk," teammate Derrick Rose said. "I was surprised Lu got it. I'm surprised he came in here and let you all see him with that Mohawk. I guess everyone's got new hairstyles. Carlos (Boozer) has got hair (instead of a shaved head)."