Thursday, it's clear the Bulls skipped a large-scale rebuild, renovating the roster with the addition of two championship-winning guards, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade.
Wade will sign a two-year, $47 million contract and join Rondo (two years, $28 million), who led the NBA with an average of 11.7 assists per game with the Sacramento Kings last season.
"We are very excited to add Rajon to our organization. He is a tremendous competitor and a championship-level player," Bulls GM Gar Forman said. "He is a battle-tested veteran who has been an All-Star and NBA Champion. He is a terrific distributor and playmaker who we feel (will) be a great addition to our team."
Rondo said Thursday he was not signed to be what Derrick Rose was to the Bulls. He also said the perception that he is a pariah in the locker room comes from stubbornness.
"You can call me stubborn but I'm intelligent. I don't BS around when it comes to my craft," Rondo said.
Forman said the Bulls avoided a total rebuild and got more athletic. They didn't get better as a perimeter shooting team.
Wade has a 28.4 3-point percentage since 2004, the second-worst in the NBA. Rondo is only slightly better at 28.9. The likes of Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott will be called upon to stretch defense and make open 3-point shots.
Rondo is not attempting to take the Bulls by the horns. He said the Bulls are "Jimmy's team. Jimmy, Wade ... and then whatever else," Rondo said.
Wade spent 13 seasons with the Heat. The former Marquette standout grew up in the Chicago area and had a falling out with management in Miami to open the doors to a move. The Denver Nuggets and Heat were also in the mix before Wade announced in a letter Wednesday night that he'd play for the Bulls.
"This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice for myself and my family," Wade wrote.
Wade, a 34-year-old guard, reportedly balked at a two-year, $40 million offer from the team that drafted him in 2003.
Wade has made over $300 million in a career in which he teamed with Shaquille O'Neal to lead Miami to the 2006 NBA title and then with LeBron James and Chris Bosh to secure championships in 2012 and 2013.
Despite subtracting Rose, the Bulls added another former MVP and Chicago scored big with guards this offseason.
With first-round pick Denzel Valentine also new to the lineup, second-year coach Fred Hoiberg has a whole new backcourt with which to work, while building the offense around All-Star Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls shipped Rose to the Knicks for point guard Jose Calderon and center Robin Lopez, plus former Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant, the 19th overall pick in 2015. Calderon was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers to clear his $7.7 million salary off the books, room under the cap the Bulls required to sign Wade.
Veteran guard Mike Dunleavy was also sent packing, landing with NBA champion Cleveland in a trade made possible because the Cavaliers maintained a trade exception to absorb Dunleavy's $4.8 million salary.