The E.C. is going to be a scary place by the time Noah gets back. Not like the West, where eight or nine perennially good teams fight over playoff seeding. We've got five teams (Celts, Magic, Pat Riley's Hitler Youth, Bulls, and maybe Knicks + Carmelo) that gobble up dogshit clubs like New Jersey and Washington just to keep up with each other in terms of wins. Every meeting between them will be a battle. The consolidation of talent continues.
Exhibit A: the Magic. I don't understand how people argue they didn't improve. They got rid of the worst contract in the NBA (THE WORST - there's a reason arenas and lewis got exchaged, and there's a reason arenas is the one going to a contender) and a contract that would have been hideous if it wasn't expiring, for a legit playmaker, a sort-of-legit playmaker, a scoring machine and Earl Clark. Yeah, OK, they gave up a perimeter defender and a backup center. Whatever.
Orlando can now go small. They can play Nelson-Arenas-JRich-Turkoglu-Howard. That leaves them with a bench of Duhon-Redick-QRich-Bass-Anderson. More likely they will go Nelson-JRich-Turkoglu-Bass-Howard, with a bench of Arenas-Redick-QRich-Anderson-Orton. (I guess Malik Allen is technically listed above Anderson on the depth chart.) Most terrifying of all, in my mind, is the lineup of Nelson-Arenas-JRich-Bass-Howard, which seems to be impossible to guard. OK, their defense wouldn't be top-notch, but would it matter? Is there a better offensive unit ready to take the floor anywhere in the NBA? If you need to be defensive-minded, start QRich. The point is, they're versatile and dangerous.
We already know Boston is hot shit at every position, and wait till they have Perkins and West at their disposal. Miami has two superstars and a bunch of calculated highlight reel bullshit that keeps Spoelstra employed (407 alley-oops and counting...I think Terrance Williams' greatest contribution to the NBA so far was saying "fuck this" and shoving showboater number one out of bounds). Let's not talk about what New York would look like with Carmelo.
And forget trade ideas. They all sound like, "Bogans and Scal and a first for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol!!!". We know what the SG options are, and so does garpaxdorf. The question is are the Bulls really built to hang with the new Eastern Conference elite. If you don't have big money contracts, it's hard to trade for big time players. For the most part the Bulls are gonna have to win with what they've got.
Are we big time? Can you win when your best scorer is a point guard? If we lose to Philly, are you going to shoot yourself in the face with a Colt .45 and leave a note that says, "March is too far away, Noah!!!!!!!!"? How do you feel about the East becoming "elitist"? Are we top shelf?