2. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have seemingly been in basketball purgatory for the better part of a decade. Since 2016, the Bulls have only made the playoffs twice, with both appearances culminating in first-round losses.
On paper, this current Bulls roster should be able to compete. A big three of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic with utility players like Patrick Beverly and Alex Caruso should be better than a 40-42 record. Unfortunately, that is where this team stands.
With five players on the team entering this off-season as either unrestricted free agents or with player options, there is a lot of heat on the Bulls’ front office this summer.
Chicago will have to hope for some luck in the draft, but there is no guarantee they will even receive a pick. Chicago currently has the 11th-best odds in the lottery and has a 1.8 percent chance to receive the top pick. However, the pick is top-four protected. If it lands inside the top four, the pick will go to the Magic.
Additionally, the Bulls won’t have any second-round picks. They were originally slated to receive Denver’s No. 57 overall selection, but the pick has since been forfeited after the Lonzo Ball tampering investigation. To make matters worse, the Wizards own Chicago’s main second-round pick.
This is not great news for a team on the fringes of competitiveness. Because of this, it is imperative that the Bulls’ front office make some solid moves this summer. Unfortunately, the Bulls are projected to have only $8 million in cap space so there isn’t much room to bring in an outside difference-maker. However, there is enough to bring back free agents or make potential trades.
Things might get kind of hairy in Chicago this summer. The front office has some treacherous waters to navigate, and there is considerable pressure to reach the playoffs in 2024.