No shortage of drama as NBA announces the regular-season schedule

SHARE No shortage of drama as NBA announces the regular-season schedule

Expectations have never been a big concern for Dwyane Wade.

And a new area code won’t change that.

“There are no expectations right now,’’ Wade said recently. “That’s [the media’s] job, to come up with what our record is going to be. That’s not our job. My job, Jimmy [Butler’s] job, [Rajon] Rondo’s job is to come in here on Day 1 when we start training camp and get after it and start working and building the team we want to see on the floor. No one knows what their team is going to be.’’

At least on Thursday, the Bulls found out where they’re going to be throughout the 2016-17 regular season, as the NBA announced its schedule.

As usual, the league was all about playing up the drama, making sure Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah would have an early homecoming.

The Bulls are scheduled to host the new-look Knicks on Nov. 4, their fifth game of the season.

Four games later, it will be Wade’s turn to return home when the Bulls go on a two-city trip. They play in Atlanta on Nov. 9, then a day later head to Miami to play the Heat, Wade’s team for 13 seasons and three championships.

Here are five key games that stand out on the Bulls’ schedule:

Nov. 4 vs. Knicks: Welcome back, D-Rose. Now let’s hear what kind of ridiculous statements come out of your mouth. Noah also returns to the United Center. How quickly into the game does Noah throw a hard foul Butler’s way?

Dec. 13 vs. Timberwolves: The first game circled on Tom Thibodeau’s calendar. The former Bulls coach has been taking the high road since being fired by Jerry Reinsdorf and Co., but you can bet he’ll do everything he can to punish his old team.

Jan. 4 at Cavaliers: Butler wants what LeBron James has. Enjoy the chase. It starts Dec. 2, when the Bulls host the defending NBA champions, but statements are made on the road.

Feb. 8 at Warriors: Golden State is already the early favorite to win the NBA title. This game falls in the middle of a six-city trip that starts in Oklahoma City and ends in Minneapolis.

April 12 vs. Nets: The Bulls fell just short of the playoffs last season, and the schedule has smiled down on them in April. Ending the regular season by hosting a bum team is always nice —just in case.

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