Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are gearing up for one of the most hyped seasons in recent memory. Coach Tom Thibodeau's team enters the season with a legitimate chance to contend for a title depending on Rose's health.
The eyes of the basketball world will be focused on Rose as he tries to make his way back from a second serious knee injury.
With that in mind, let's take a look at 10 of the most intriguing games on the Bulls' 2014-15 schedule (see the full slate here), which was released Wednesday:
Bulls at New York Knicks, Oct. 29: The regular-season opener comes against a player the Bulls tried to land this summer in Carmelo Anthony and marks Rose's first regular-season game in almost a year. Rose and Joakim Noah have talked in the past about how much they enjoy playing on the Madison Square Garden stage.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Bulls, Oct. 31: The energy for this game is already palpable in Chicago. It will be Rose's sixth home game since tearing his ACL in the first game of the 2012 playoffs. It will also be LeBron James' first appearance at the United Center since coming back to the Cavaliers. The UC will be rocking on Halloween.
Knicks at Bulls, Dec. 18: Carmelo Anthony makes his first appearance at the United Center since spurning the Bulls in free agency. How many times will he say his new deal "wasn't about the money?"
Los Angeles Lakers at Bulls, Dec. 25: Carlos Boozer makes his return to the United Center with a Lakers team that faces off for the first time against former teammate Pau Gasol. Given the injury woes Rose and Kobe Bryant have dealt with, fans (and the NBA) have to be hoping for a Christmas present of two healthy stars.
Milwaukee Bucks at Bulls, Jan. 10: A Bucks game in January doesn't usually get the juices flowing, but this game marks former Simeon standout Jabari Parker's first game as a professional in Chicago. Rose vs. Parker should be a lot of fun to watch for years to come.
Miami Heat at Bulls, Jan. 25: Luol Deng didn't get a chance to return to the United Center last season after being traded to Cleveland. This season, he comes in with a revamped Heat team that still has Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Deng, who spent nine-plus seasons with the Bulls, likely will get a nice ovation from Chicago fans.
Bulls at San Antonio Spurs, March 8: The Bulls will try to knock off the defending champs for the second straight season on their home floor. Many believe the Bulls have tried to set up a Spurs-like roster, and Thibodeau again comes face-to-face with the organization he calls the "gold standard" of the NBA.
Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder, March 15: A nationally televised game featuring Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Rose should be fun to watch. The Bulls have not fared well against the Thunder, dropping five of their past six games against them, but this gives them another chance to turn the numbers around.
Bulls at Cavaliers, April 5: An intriguing matchup between the Central Division rivals comes late in the season. Playoff seeding and a division crown could be on the line.