The Chicago Bulls are closing in on a huge mid-season upgrade to their roster with the expected return of Derrick Rose from the devastating knee injury that threatened to make this season a bust for the Bulls.
Instead, All-Star level play from Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, along with nearly All-Star-level play from Carlos Boozer, have kept the Bulls among the contenders in the Eastern Conference as they currently sit in first place in the Central Division. With the key starters doing their part, the Bulls are also getting strong contributions from role players, specifically Jimmy Butler, whose defensive disposition has fortified the bench and helped the team replace Ronnie Brewer.
While the Bulls continue waiting for Rose to return, team executive John Paxson recently said he doesn't expect any other moves by the team prior to the NBA trade deadline on February 21.
"We're up against what's called a hard cap," Paxson said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "In order for us to do something we're not in a position to take on any real salary so we're kind of limited in what we can do. I think our team has grown -- it's not always pretty, let's face it; we've had some ugly games this year and that's kind of who we are right now. But we do grind it out and play hard.
"You're always on the lookout to do certain things, but I think our move hopefully will be bringing Derrick back into the fold."
Paxson also danced around the expected return date of Rose as various reports regarding his level of activity continue to surface. As long as the Bulls continue to play at their current level, delivering defensive problems for every team they face, there is no urgency for Rose to return.
Assuming the roster is set, the Bulls and Rose can focus on ramping up their play to end the season while remaining ready for a playoff run.