Normally, schedule analysis is kinda silly. All the schedules are the same, and the only difference is timing. You might get more home games up front or more on the end, a few more back to backs, but in the end, it's generally the same for every team. This year, the schedule has much more true variance due to the shortened seasons.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first.
The loser? Bulls season ticket holders
Season ticket holders are keenly aware of how much a compressed schedule stinks. With far more games per week it means selling off a lot more tickets or dedicating half the week to heading out to the United center. However, beyond the compressed schedule, the typical round of home games for the Bulls is a bit disappointing.
The only interesting West coast team to travel to the United Center this season is the Mavericks, and despite just winning a ring, they're the least interesting of the "interesting". Especially since they might lose a big chunk of the team rather than truly try to compete for another ring this season.
No Kobe Bryant.
No Kevin Durant.
No Blake Griffin.
Those three stars will play the Bulls out West rather than in Chicago. The Bulls get Dirk Nowitski whom any long time season ticket holder has already seen 10 times rather than one of the two power players that haven't made so many trips to Chicago yet, or the Lakers which up until this past year [Miami] was always the first game to go in the season ticket holder draft.
If Dwight Howard and/or Chris Paul move to the Warriors, Clippers, or Lakers [the three teams most likely to bid out west], then the home town fans will miss both of those megastars as well. Heck, even the the lousy teams are uninteresting, as I'd have thought a game against the Timberwolves and watching Ricky Rubio would have been pretty interesting.
That's the Bulls west coast home schedule. The three hottest tickets against the West coast won't be traveling to the United Center this season. The Bulls will get to see the Grizzlies [yay?] and Steve Nash I guess, but it's a pretty lousy split for season ticket holders.
The Bulls will get two home games against most of the Eastern Conference powerhouses, because they play virtually all of them four times. Only Orlando [which might fall from grace with a Howard trade anyway] is played three times, and of course only one of those is at home and its after the trade deadline when Howard will likely be gone already.
Now for the good news
The Bulls probably have one of the easier schedules overall in the NBA to play.
First of all, every team in the NBA plays four games against their division. The Bulls divisional opponents are probably the weakest set of four divisional opponents in the NBA. If Dwight Howard leaves the Magic, the four against Miami would be similarly lousy, but Atlanta is still a decent team.
[update - holy crap, as pointed out by a commenter, the Bulls actually only play the Cavs/Pacers three times a piece, so their schedule is not overloaded with weak divisional opponents, NBA choose to maximize the money by playing the big name teams against each other as much as possible rather than making more lousy matchups and losing a Chicago/Miami game].
Second, the Bulls only have one back to back to back run this season. Every team has at least one and a maximum of three [the Heat also have only one].
The Bulls do have four games against Miami, Atlanta, New York, and Boston [probably the four best teams outside of themselves if Dwight Howard is traded as I expect], but Miami also has four against us [duh], Atlanta, Orlando [if Howard doesn't leave], and Boston.
All in all, I don't expect the regular season to mean much. I'm already in a Dallas Mavericks state of mind. Get me to the playoffs, so we can start the real basketball because I've seen my team go pretty far already and have no concerns about what happens in the next 66 games if I can enter the playoffs healthy.
You can check out the whole schedule here.
Finally, my favorite part of good news, the NBA is back. Schedule release day is a nice day to soak that in. Also, as a fan, I hate traveling to the United Center as often as I'll have to this year, but I love the fact that there are so many games on TV.
Starting Dec 25th, Christmas day, more than half your nights can be filled with Chicago Bulls action. It doesn't get much better than that.