By Cody Westerlund–
(CBS) The first meaningful look at the new era for the rebuilding Bulls starts Oct. 19, when they visit the Toronto Raptors for their season opener.
Chicago’s home opener comes two nights later when it hosts San Antonio on Oct. 21 at the United Center. The NBA unveiled its schedule Monday evening and for the first time in league history, there will be no stretches of four games in five nights for any team. That was made possible in part by moving the start of the regular season up about 10 days to mid-October from the traditional start in late October.
After trading Jimmy Butler to embark on the rebuilding process, the Bulls will play just one game on national television — Feb. 9, when they host Butler, Taj Gibson, Tom Thibobeau and the Timberwolves. That game is on ESPN, meaning the Bulls’ 20-game winning streak in regular-season home games on TNT will live on for at least another season. Chicago will also play four games on NBATV.
Derrick Rose is set to return to the United Center with the Cavaliers on Dec. 4 and March 17. Chicago hosts the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Jan. 17 and visits the Bay Area on Nov. 24.
Here’s a look at the Bulls’ full schedule:
Back-to-back games have also been cut to an average of 14.4 per team, an all-time low that’s down from 16.3 last season. The Bulls have 14 sets of back-to-back games.
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for CBSChicago.com and covers the Bulls. He’s also the co-host of the @LockedOnBulls podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.