The Chicago Bulls and the rest of the NBA have reached the slow part of the offseason with free agency slowing down and Summer League being over. At this point, teams are just waiting for training camp to get underway so they can prepare for the upcoming season.
Speaking of the offseason, it was a relatively calm one for the Bulls as the biggest move was re-signing Zach LaVine to a max contract. The team did add veteran free agents Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond on inexpensive deals but those were mostly considered low-caliber moves.
The Bulls’ front office achieved their goal of continuity of the core this offseason as they had expressed their desires to run it back. The main reason the team wanted to run it back was because of how well they played last season when the team was healthy.
Before injuries to LaVine, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso derailed the season the Bulls were 27-13 in early January and were in first place in the Eastern Conference. After the injuries, the team stumbled to 46-36 and finished in sixth place.
ESPN recently released their projections for the Eastern Conference in the 2022-23 season and Bulls fans might not like what they have to say. According to the projections, the Bulls will finish with a 44-38 record, which will make them the eighth seed in the conference.
ESPN Insider Nick Friedell had this to say about the Bulls’ offseason and their expectations for this season:
In Chicago, Zach LaVine got his max deal — but that was about the only major move the Bulls made this summer. Signing veterans Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic will fill out coach Billy Donovan’s bench, but it won’t get the Bulls any closer to breaking into the top tier of the East. Aside from DeMar DeRozan’s ability to recreate his magical 2021-22 season, the Bulls face major questions regarding the health of Lonzo Ball’s knee and young big man Patrick Williams’ ability to take another step in his career.
The Bulls’ decision to run it back is a risky one for multiple reasons. The first and most important is the health of Lonzo Ball and what his status will be heading into the season.
Also as Friedell pointed out it will be hard for DeRozan to have another season like last year. The Bulls will really need some of their younger players like Patrick Williams to step up if they are going to take any steps forward this season.
Reasons for Optimism
If the Bulls and their fans want some reasons to be optimistic this upcoming season then the good news is there are a few reasons for optimism. The first is that LaVine is healthy which will lighten DeRozan’s scoring load.
Also, the recent news out of the Ball camp is that they expect him to be ready for the start of the season which would be huge for the Bulls. Beyond that, the Bulls do have to hope that young players like Williams and Ayo Dosunmu can take the next step.
Another lingering question and decision the Bulls have to deal with is the contract of Nikola Vucevic as he enters the final season of his deal. The Bulls have a lot of questions to answer and only time will tell if they’ll be able to do so.