July 07, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) For all the jokes about loading up for a run at the 2011 championship, give the Chicago Bulls this: Next season won't be a dull one.

They got a whole lot more interesting by adding Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade this week.

''We didn't want to go into an absolute rebuild, but we did want to get younger and we did want to get more athletic,'' general manager Gar Forman said. ''And at the same time, we want to be able to compete and put as good a team as we can out there on the floor.''

Wade is finally coming to Chicago after turning them down six years ago to stay in Miami and form a ''Big Three'' with LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

As good as Wade is, he is also 34 years old. At 30, Rondo is not exactly young by NBA standards, either. So for Forman's talk about a youth movement, the additions raised a few eyebrows and led to some quips about building a contender for 2010-11 season.

Rondo's deal became official on Thursday. While the Bulls did not announce the terms, a person with knowledge of the negotiations previously told The Associated Press that the four-time All-Star agreed to a $30 million, two-year deal.

Wade is coming home to Chicago after 13 seasons, 12 All-Star selections and three championships with Miami. He agreed to a two-year contract worth about $47 million - $7 million more than the Heat offered - on Wednesday night. While Forman would not discuss Wade because the deal had not been announced, he did talk about the direction of a transitioning franchise that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Former MVP Derrick Rose was traded to the Knicks before the draft and he will be joined by Joakim Noah. Pau Gasol is headed to San Antonio. Coach Fred Hoiberg's freewheeling offense will now get Wade and Rondo, who is three years older than Rose.

''We didn't want to rebuild where we become possibly a lower lottery team long term,'' Forman said. ''We've studied the NBA, we've studied the history of the NBA, and when you make a move to go that direction, it sometimes can take six, seven years to get out. That wasn't our goal.''

Rondo is known as an intelligent player who also has a history of clashing with coaches, most notably Rick Carlisle in Dallas.

''I think a lot of it is perception,'' Rondo said. ''Not to knock anything - you make the bed, you've got to lay in it.''

The question is: Just what are the Bulls getting into? After all, Hoiberg got called out last year in his first season by All-Star Jimmy Butler, and the Bulls just added a player with a checkered history when it comes to getting along with coaches.

Is Rondo different now?

''I think I'm the same player,'' he said. ''You'd probably consider me stubborn. But I think I'm really intelligent. I put a lot of work into this game. I don't B.S. around about my craft; I put a lot of work in. I watch a lot of film. I study. People may look at it as a knock, but I really look at it as what makes me great.''

He said he doesn't ''lose sleep'' over his reputation. But the Bulls at least had some questions about it before they decided to sign him.

''We were very honest and transparent, as was he, in our conversations, as far as how he would fit with this team and how he would fit within the culture that we've created here,'' Forman said. ''We thought the dialogue was really, really positive.''

Rondo had a sort of resurgence this past season with Sacramento, averaging 11.9 points and an NBA-best 11.7 assists. It was the fourth season in which he averaged a double-double and the first since 2012-13, when he made his fourth All-Star team with the Celtics. Wade averaged 19 points.

But some of the biggest issues that brought down the Bulls last season remain. One is that they still don't have a guard who consistently hits from long range.

That was a problem when Rose and Butler were on the court together. Both also wanted the ball in their hands.

Then again, Rondo won a championship with Boston in 2008. Wade, the Chicago-area native, is bringing three rings home from Miami.

The Bulls also figure to have the cap space to sign a star next summer in what could be a loaded class with stars such as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin.

''We think we've got a lot of positives to sell, but obviously the more good players we attract, it's going to help attract players down the road,'' Forman said.

You May Like