There are some interesting storylines in the NBA this season. But as the Bulls arrive at the Berto Center to meet the media Monday, their game plan is mostly about treading water.
The only real issue for the Bulls right now is when Derrick Rose will return from ACL surgery. That's expected to happen sometime around midseason -- the all-star break in February is an educated guess.
The day Rose steps on the court will be far more meaningful than the scheduled season opener Oct. 31 against Sacramento.
Making the playoffs is not out of the question, but the Bulls need to play around .500, or close to it, until Rose is healthy.
Luol Deng did not have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, so he figures to be available when the season begins. Getting a chance to rest the injury over the summer is supposed to have made a difference, but it remains to be seen if the wrist is completely healthy.
Otherwise, the Bulls can be divided into two groups -- holdovers and newcomers.
The starters, besides Rose, are all back -- Deng, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton -- plus sixth man Taj Gibson and second-year forward Jimmy Butler.
Most of the team's celebrated "Bench Mob" has been replaced, though. The newcomers include former Bull Kirk Hinrich, shooting guard Marco Belinelli, point guard Nate Robinson, distance shooting forward Vladimir Radmanovic, veteran center Nazr Mohammed and rookie point guard Marquis Teague.
Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson, John Lucas III and Brian Scalabrine have moved on.
Here's a refresher course on what happened in the NBA this summer:
•The Los Angeles Lakers will be an early focus after adding veteran guard Steve Nash and all-star center Dwight Howard. They managed to keep Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and, of course, Kobe Bryant.
•Now that LeBron James finally is a champion, what will he do for an encore? Miami added a couple of impressive veterans at low salaries in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
•The Nets made the long-awaited move to Brooklyn and didn't land Howard, their top target. Instead, they'll settle for former Atlanta shooting guard Joe Johnson joining a re-signed Deron Williams.
•Oklahoma City returns virtually intact and will continue to be a title contender, while Boston brought in Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green to try to prolong the life span of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
•Dallas is another contending team that made major changes, adding Elton Brand, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and Darren Collison.