"I think we have a contender," Rose said after Team USA's first practice Monday. "I wouldn't say ... (people) were saying put us at the top of the East or whatever, but we have a contender team. We know as a team what we were trying to do. We all have one goal. And individually, this whole summer I think everybody worked on their games, and everybody's trying to compete for that title next year."
Rose, who is trying to work his way back from a torn meniscus in his right knee that cost him all but 10 games of the past season, is confident in the direction the Bulls chose to go after missing out on New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. But he did say missing out on Anthony was tough.
LAS VEGAS -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose says his confidence is "through the roof," and he's looking forward to proving his doubters wrong this season as he tries to make his way back from two serious knee injuries.
Rose, who has played just 10 games in the past two seasons because of a torn ACL in his left knee in April 2012 and a torn meniscus in his right knee in November 2013, is confident he will return to being the player he was before the injuries.
He is in Team USA's training camp this week as the group prepares for the World Cup of Basketball in late August in Spain.
"I'm there, man," Rose said, when asked how close he is to playing like his old self. "I'm not worried about that. My confidence is very high, and that's the only thing you might see this year -- that my confidence level is through the roof."
Rose, who hasn't played in an NBA game since Nov. 22, said he felt no pain in his knee during Team USA's first practice on Monday. Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said there were no restrictions on Rose, and he was very pleased with what he saw.
"I was ecstatic about watching him today," Krzyzewski said. "He's better than four years ago. Four years ago, he was 21, and he was just on the verge of becoming who he was going to be. But he had a great practice today. You don't practice like this [every day]. He hasn't been in practices like this. Now [we'll] watch what he does for the next few days."
Rose is emboldened by how much time he has spent working on his body -- and his game -- the past couple years. He said the presence of his baby son, Derrick Jr., has helped give him balance as he tries to make another comeback from his latest injury.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves, while continuing to discuss trade proposals that would send Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, have been exploring their options for acquiring Young from the Sixers, either through a separate transaction or as part of an expanded Love trade.
Whether Philadelphia proves willing to part with Young, though, remains to be seen.
Young has two years left on his contract, including a player option for the 2015-16 season, valued at a combined $19.3 million. Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said in June that he anticipates Young starting next season in Philadelphia, but it's believed that the club is willing to move Young if the assets acquired in return are sufficiently attractive.
Because of his ongoing trade limbo with the Wolves, Love has removed himself from the Team USA squad that started training camp Monday in Las Vegas in advance of the FIBA Basketball World Cup that starts Aug. 30 in Spain. With Love widely expected to be dealt before the start of next season, both he and the Wolves deemed risking injury with the national team before a trade was consummated to be too risky.
"I'm cool with it,'' Jordan told ESPN.com via text message Monday morning. "I don't own a number.''
Jordan, who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, wore No. 23 during his legendary playing career. James idolized Jordan growing up and wore No. 23 during his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers.
But after leaving Cleveland and joining the Miami Heat four years ago, James switched to No. 6, saying it was as a tribute to Jordan. He announced he would change numbers in November of 2009, his last season in Cleveland.
"I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon,'' James, who had worn No. 23 since his sophomore year in high school, said at the time. "There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if there wasn't Michael Jordan first.
"He can't get the logo, and if he can't, something has to be done. I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I'm starting a petition, and I've got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. Now, if I'm not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it.''
James did not contact Jordan before deciding to return to No 23. James announced his number choice
"I feel pretty good," Noah told ESPNChicago.com on Sunday during a promotional event for Adidas. "Obviously I have a ways to go, but I'm excited. When I see what our team looks like, I think that Gar [Forman] and Pax [John Paxon] put together a very solid team and I'm really excited about next year."
Noah was hobbled throughout the postseason after a season in which he earned the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award. The knee injury came at the end of a long season in which he was also voted to the first team All-NBA squad at center. Noah spent some time Sunday being part of a few laid back 3-on-3 games set up by the sneaker company as part of the launch of its "boost" campaign.
Noah, who has dealt with plantar fasciitis throughout much of his career, credits his new shoes as part of the reason why he appears to have overcome the issue. After being sponsored by Le Coq Sportif throughout the first six seasons of his career, Noah switched to Adidas before last season.
"I'm very happy to be with Adidas," he said. "It's funny that the 'boost' is their new technology. It just puts so much cushion on your feet. That's exactly what I needed. Ever since I've been with Adidas my feet have been feeling great. I've had no foot issues. And I'm just really happy to be part of the Adidas family."
Noah knows he still has a lot of work to do to get his knee back in game shape, but he is confident he will be ready to go in the near future. His optimism regarding the upcoming campaign permeated through his answers.
"Every day I work out that's all I think about," Noah admitted, while discussing the possibility of winning a title alongside Derrick Rose. "It's just how great that party would be after we win the championship. But I know to get there there's going to be a lot of ups and downs. It's always a rocky road. It's never smooth in the NBA. But I love our team and now it's on us to get to work."
The Select Team will practice against Team USA this week in advance of the national team's participation in the World Cup of Basketball in Spain in late August.
Butler was one of several Bulls scheduled to participate this week in the camp. Rookie Doug McDermott is on the Select Team, while point guard Derrick Rose is hoping to make the cut for the national team. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is an assistant on Team USA's staff under head Mike Krzyzewski.
LAS VEGAS -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah knows that in order to win a championship this season, he and his team are going to have to push through an opponent that has repeatedly stood in their way: LeBron James.
"Every time LeBron steps onto the court he's affecting the game," Noah told ESPNChicago.com on Sunday during a promotional event for Adidas. "He's the best player in the game, but that being said, I think we have a chance to beat them. And that's the goal. We want to beat LeBron James, we want to beat the Miami Heat, we want to beat all those teams who are in our way. He's obviously one of the big obstacles."
The emotional leader of the Bulls is excited about the roster moves his team has made over the past few weeks and is confident they can overcome James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
"It's not about him. It's about us," Noah said. "It's about our team and being the best team that we can be, then time will tell."
Noah understands the expectations that are out there for the Bulls, but he is trying not to worry about the hype right now. He is making his way back from arthroscopic left knee surgery he had on May 2 and says he will be "ready" for training camp. He spent some time playing light 3-on-3 on Sunday and realizes that with a healthy Derrick Rose back in the fold, the Bulls will be expected to contend for a title.
CHICAGO -- "Dreadlocks coming into the game! Dreadlocks, what you going to do?"
It was the Joakim Noah Show at the United Center on Saturday afternoon, but instead of thrilling a capacity crowd with his unique All-NBA game, the Chicago Bulls star was on the microphone playing hype man for a basketball game pitting the dreadlocked against the clean-headed, the undersized against the overweight, the South Side against the West Side.
On a muggy summer day, Noah's charity, the Noah's Arc Foundation, hosted its third annual "peace tournament," now called the "One City" basketball tournament, a simple event with a lofty goal: trying to unify a divided city and raise awareness of the violence that grips pockets of Chicago all year long, but particularly in the summer. The teams were made up of 18- to 24-year-old "at-risk" men from different parts of the city. These are men Noah wants to see return to their communities to "influence" younger kids in a positive way.
A 3-year-old boy was shot Friday. An 11-year-old girl was buried Saturday. Dozens shot every weekend. A city grows weary of constant gun violence.
But what can one man do?
Noah can't turn back the clock on housing discrimination and segregated urban planning. He can't attack poverty at its root causes without major help. He's rich, but not wealthy yet.
"I'm really excited," Noah said of the Bulls on Friday. "I think Gar [Forman] and [John Paxson] and everybody did a real good job. I'm really, really excited about the Bulls. It just makes you want to work hard and be as ready as possible for the upcoming season."
"I think he did the right decision for him," Noah said. "We obviously recruited him pretty hard. I think he had to make the best decision for him. I'm really excited for our team the way it is. I think we're deeper. I think those things, me personally, I can't control where another man goes. He feels like New York is the best position for him. I'm happy for him. But at the end of the day, what I care about is this city and the Chicago Bulls."
Noah is especially excited about adding Pau Gasol to the Bulls' frontcourt.
"I think it's going to be great," Noah said. "Pau is someone who is very, very smart. I think his father was a doctor. Someone who comes with a lot of experience. Not just a great player, but somebody who cares about the community as well. I'm excited to see him help us as well to try to slow down the violence and help the kids out here in Chicago. Somebody who is also very humbling to play with, somebody who has won championships and with his pedigree somebody I can really learn from."
Noah reported he's been rehabbing his left knee every day after having arthroscopic surgery in May.
He has also kept tabs on teammate Derrick Rose and his road to recovery in the offseason.
"I'm really proud of him because I know he sacrificed his whole summer," Noah said. "He sacrificed a lot to be the best that he can. That's all you can do. People's expectations, all that stuff doesn't matter. I'm proud of him for putting the work that he put in to be in the best position possible. He's doing a lot of things. He's helping us out too with our foundation. I got nothing but love for him."
Noah doesn't exactly have love for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, though.
"Good for LeBron," Noah said of James rejoining the Cavaliers. "I'm happy for LeBron James. He gets to go home. People are happy over there. But I really hope that we can kick his [butt] as many times as possible."
Boozer rarely played in the fourth quarter last season under Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who favored Taj Gibson, a superior defender.
"Playing first quarter and third quarter, not having a chance to help my team at the end of the game to win was tough," Boozer said. "As a competitor, you want to be out there doing everything you can to help your team win and to not get an opportunity, it was humbling. So, I learned a lot from that process."
The Bulls used the amnesty provision on the final season of Boozer's five-year, $75 million contract on July 15. Nine teams with cap space were able to make a blind bid to pick up the remaining portion of his $16.8 million deal. The Lakers won with a bid of $3.25 million, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
Boozer, who averaged 15.5 points and nine rebounds in four seasons in Chicago, praised the Bulls for the way they handled the amnesty process.
"Chicago was great about everything," Boozer said. "They’re a great organization, first class. They were in touch with me and Rob Pelinka, my agent, along the whole process. So, as they were making their decision for where they were going with the team, they let us know. So we knew we were going to get amnestied, I think, the day before and we went forward."
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.