NBA Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls’ Top 6 Players Most Likely to Return for the 2013-2014 Season

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Top 6 Chicago Bulls Most Likely To Return for the 2013-2014 Season

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Paul Abell - USA TODAY Sports

The month of June arrived and once again the Chicago Bulls reached for fishing rods and golf clubs rather than NBA championship rings.

All season long the Bulls battled injury and adversity in what many had written off as the lost season, but somehow the Bulls managed to amaze even their toughest critics. By placing second in their division with a 45-37 record, halting the historic winning streak of the Miami Heat at 27 wins, and blazing their way through a fourth quarter rally against the Brooklyn Nets that lead to a triple OT franchise record-breaking victory in round one of the playoffs, the Bulls made believers out of us all.

Even the skeptics were wondering just how high the Bulls could get or how far they would go, and suddenly the future looked brighter than bright. With a healthy Derrick Rose and a full complement of hale and hearty teammates, only the sky would be the limit.

Even so, if the sky is the limit for the Bulls next season a few storm clouds of doubt linger because in reality many of these guys will not return for the 2013-2014 season. Reportedly, only six out of 15 Bulls are certain to return to the United Center, also known as the Madhouse on Madison, at the beginning of next season.

Check out the six Chicago Bulls who are most likely to return to the lineup for the 2013-2014 season in the slideshow that follows.

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It Goes Without Saying, Derrick Rose Will Be Back

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Dennis Wierzbicki - USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Rose, one of the most popular guys in the NBA, was recuperating from a devastating knee injury all season long and probably has the most popular ACL in all of sports. Fans cheered his every move in pregame warm-ups, and some prayed silently for his return.

It didn’t happen this year, but judging from Rose’s every dribble, shot and push to the rim during the second half of the season in pregrame sessions, he will be back. And, most likely, he’ll be better than ever, we hope.

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Jimmy Butler Is A Shoo-in

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Dennis Wierzbicki - USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler has become a most valuable asset to the Chicago Bulls lineup, especially considering the defensive prowess that he has shown ever since January when Luol Deng went down with a hamstring injury and continuing health issues in the playoffs.

Butler has improved his 3-point shooting and dared to impress fans when matched-up with LeBron James in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, scoring 21 points and 14 rebounds. He played the full 48 minutes in multiple playoff games, racking up 221 out of a possible 240 minutes in the Heat series.

He is no doubt a shoo-in for the 2013-2014 season with the Bulls.

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Joakim Noah – He’ll Be Back

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Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports

Joakim Noah has become one of the most popular of the Chicago Bulls. His drive, physicality and passion are what make him the emotional compass of the team. His defensive versatility and offensive resourcefulness earned him his first NBA All-Star selection this year.

Although the recurrence of plantar fasciitis caused him to miss three games during the regular season, he played through the injury during the postseason, giving one of the best performances by a Bulls center ever in Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

He’ll be back.

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Carlos Boozer Will Return

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Anthony Gruppuso - USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Boozer was a solid, durable presence for the Bulls this season, playing in 79 games and averaging 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds. Together, he and Joakim Noah play well on the court, providing a formidable presence for their opponents. He has consistently worked on his defensive skills and appears most comfortable on offense, shooting 16 to 18 foot fade-aways in games.

He is a skillful and accomplished passer who will, undoubtedly, return for the 2013-2014 season with the Bulls.

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Kirk Hinrich – Count Him In

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Steve Dykes - USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Hinrich is the veteran who returned to the Bulls this past season because he played so well with Derrick Rose. It was Rose, actually, who recruited Hinrich. As fate would have it, so far injuries have prevented the on court reunion from happening.

Although Hinrich has been plagued by injuries, missing 22 games during the regular season and eight more in the playoffs, it was during Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals that Hinrich excelled. He scored 18 points and 14 assists in nearly 60 minutes in the Bulls triple OT win. Hopefully he will not need surgery on the calf injury sustained during the playoffs.

Captain Kirk will no doubt return as a backup for Rose. Count him in.

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Taj Gibson Will Make His Presence Felt

Mike DiNovo - USA TODAY Sports

Taj Gibson, arguably the best sixth-man in the league, is always looking for ways to help his team. Playing without Omer Asik for the first time in two seasons, he found it a bit more difficult to live up to his own high expectations of himself following the signing of his new extension with the Bulls. After being out of action for a month due to a sprained MCL, he struggled to find his groove in what was essentially an up-and-down season for him. But find it he did.

The highlight of his season came during a February 2nd victory over the Atlanta Hawks when both Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer were out due to injuries. Gibson scored 19 points and 19 rebounds in the second night of a back-to-back.

Gibson will undoubtedly return and make his presence felt in a title run next season.

Hollie M. Woods is a writer for Rant Sports covering the Chicago Bulls and the NBA. “Like” her on Facebook.