NBA offseason power rankings: Where do the Bulls stand?
30. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers did nothing in free agency but were a big winner on draft night, adding Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. A Kevin Love trade could yield a significant return and move the rebuild forward. They’ve already got a keeper in Collin Sexton.
29. Phoenix Suns
They fired their head coach after one season, traded up five spots to reach on Cameron Johnson and gave Ricky Rubio $51 million. The Phoenix Suns would be relegated to the G-League if they hadn’t hit on Devin Booker and lucked into the No. 1 pick and Deandre Ayton.
28. Memphis Grizzlies
Don’t look now but this is quietly one of the better rebuilds in basketball. Both Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. have All-Star potential, and fellow rookie Brandon Clarke has looked great in Summer League. They’re still a ways off from competing, but their rebuild is off to a nice start.
27. Washington Wizards
John Wall could miss all of next season and is owed more money than God the next four seasons. They have nothing to show for Tomas Satoransky (Bulls), Otto Porter (Bulls), Bobby Portis (Knicks) or Jabari Parker (Hawks). A Bradley Beal trade feels like a when, not an if, at this point. Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura are nice young frontcourt pieces.
26. Charlotte Hornets
Turning Kemba Walker into Terry Rozier, who will make $58 million the next three years, pretty much sums up Michael Jordan’s Hornets. They’re about to enter a long rebuild with no real end in sight. Their best bet is hitting on Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington, their last two first-round picks. They’ll be in the mix for 14% odds in April.
25. New York Knicks
Anyone need a power forward? The Knicks swung and missed on the max free agents and instead signed 4 (FOUR!) power forwards: Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis and Marcus Morris. They have a solid young core in R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, but it’s about to get a lot worse before it gets better in the Big Apple.
24. Detroit Pistons
Dwane Casey’s Pistons are sort of in basketball purgatory, where they’re good enough to make the postseason in the East but have no real shot at a title and very few young assets to build on. We’re going to bet they regress in 2020 and that Blake Griffin won’t have another All-NBA campaign.
23. Chicago Bulls
They’ve got young talent in Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter and Wendell Carter, and adding vets in Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young will help. But this is still a 22-win team who is yet to show it can stay healthy. The Bulls’ outlook is solid…if they can stay healthy. Until then, they’re in for a third straight losing season while they let the kids develop.
22. Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young and John Collins are about to become one of the league’s best young 1-2 punches, while there’s plenty of young talent surrounding them. They added both De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish in June and could be a year or two away from putting together something really special. Their arrow is point way up, especially in the East.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves reportedly want to make a run at someone in 2020 free agency, meaning it could be another quiet regular season where Karl Towns dominates and Andrew Wiggins posts empty numbers. Robert Covington could be an intriguing trade candidate at the deadline.
20. Sacramento Kings
The Harrison Barnes contract aside, the Kings should be able to build on last year’s success. De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are rising stars, Marvin Bagley III’s second half was outstanding and vets like Barnes, Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza should keep this group steady. They’ll again flirt with a playoff spot in the West.
19. Miami Heat
It's Jimmy Butler and a host of average role players, but their outlook would get considerably more interesting in the East if they were somehow able to trade for Chris Paul.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic is about to be the NBA’s next superstar, and now he’ll play alongside another budding one in Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavs also had a solid offseason, grabbing Seth Curry and retaining Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith. Mark Cuban is building something in Dallas.
17. Oklahoma City Thunder
They’re no longer title contenders, and there’s a good chance GM Sam Presti continue to blow it up. But let’s not look past the Thunder’s current core: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams. They’ve also got decent talent off the bench. As their current roster stands, this is still a competitive team.
16. Orlando Magic
They were the league’s biggest surprise last season, turning in a 42-win campaign and making the playoffs. Retaining Nikola Vucevic was critical, and they bring back most of their core. If youngsters Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac continue to improve, Orlando should be back in the postseason. Their defense is for real.
15. San Antonio Spurs
They had a quiet offseason, but let’s not forget they’ll get Dejounte Murray (missed all of last season with an ACL tear) and Lonnie Walker IV (played just 17 games) back. Add them into a backcourt with Derrick White and DeMar DeRozan and you’ve got a team that will again be competitive. Expect a 23rd straight postseason appearance.
14. New Orleans Pelicans
This isn’t too high for Zion and the Pellies. They also added Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the draft, and signed J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors in free agency. Add in Jrue Holiday to that core and you’ve got a playoff team in the West. Zion is that good. Believe the hype.
13. Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard is gone but a core of Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet can still do some damage in the East. They could decide to blow it up after winning a title last year, but for now they’re still a top-6 team in the East.
12. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets won free agency in adding Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. But Durant won’t play this season and they also lost D’Angelo Russell. Their 2021 outlook is much brighter than their 2020 outlook. Still, they’re a playoff team in the East with considerable upside. Their role players are outstanding.
11. Boston Celtics
They lost Al Horford to the Sixers and swapped Kyrie Irving for Kemba Walker. It was a rough offseason but they still have an All-NBA guard in Walker and young talent in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Perhaps Gordon Hayward has a bounceback year. The Celtics aren’t dead just yet. Brad Stevens will find a way.
10. Indiana Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon was quietly one of the better free-agent signings this summer for a Pacers team that needs a ball handler until Victor Oladipo returns and loves perimeter shooting. Indiana will need to replace Bojan Bogdanovic (Utah) but has capable options in Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren. If Oladipo returns to his pre-injury form, this is a dark horse in the East.
9. Portland Trail Blazers
They lost considerable depth in the frontcourt but also added Hassan Whiteside and opened up minutes for promising forward Zach Collins. They’ll be much deeper when Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) returns, and they’ll remain a top-5 team in the West as long as Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are healthy.
8. Utah Jazz
They’re going for it. Trading for Mike Conley and signing Bojan Bogdanovic were aggressive moves that will give the Jazz a shot at the top seed in the West. We’re not as bullish on them, but if Donovan Mitchell makes an All-Star leap they could certainly move up quickly in these rankings.
7. Golden State Warriors
All things considered, the Warriors had a decent offseason. They lost Kevin Durant and won’t have Klay Thompson until the midway point of next season, but grabbing D’Angelo Russell and retaining Kevon Looney has to be considered a win, given what it could have looked like. Plus, they still have Steph Curry and Draymond Green. They’ll continue to compete.
6. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets used their potential cap space by picking up Paul Millsap’s $30 million option, and then traded a first-round pick for Jerami Grant. That’s just fine for a 54-win team that will bring its entire core back. This could be the year the Nuggets enter title conversations.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
Swapping Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick for Josh Richardson and Al Horford was an excellent move for the Sixers, who combined with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris will contend for a top-2 seed in the East. If Embiid and Simmons go from All-Stars to All-Pros, they’ll have a shot to win a title.
4. Houston Rockets
Can Russell Westbrook and James Harden co-exist? Well, we’re about to find out. The Rockets are better on paper with Westbrook instead of Chris Paul, but how will one of the league’s worst 3-point shooters fit in Moreyball? The Rockets are talented, but whether they can mesh enough to contend for a title is the real question.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
They lost Malcolm Brogdon but re-signed Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. Combined with Giannis and Eric Bledsoe, that’s more than enough to maintain their status as the team to beat in the East. Wes Matthews could wing up being a nice under-the-radar signing for the 3-happy Milwaukee offense.
2. L.A. Clippers
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the headliners, but this team has serious depth with Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green, Patrick Beverley and Moe Harkless. They have the deepest roster in basketball and arguably the best 1-2 punch in basketball. Doc Rivers is going to have fun this season.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Argue against it if you will, but a LeBron James-Anthony Davis duo is one of the best in NBA history. They took their Kawhi cap space and added Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins and a host of other role players who fit in perfectly around James and Davis. This is still the team to beat. Let the games begin.