The Bulls off-season has been widely panned, and rightfully so they are a title contending team that let the majority of it's bench leave via free agency. I would give the Bulls a D for the off-season, but many would say F- - -(side bar no one has become more overrated this off-season than CJ Watson. Seriously how was he anything above an adequate backup point guard?) Some have been theorizing that the plan is to make a major move via free agency in 2014 when Luol Deng comes off the books and Carlos Boozer could be amnestied. This idea has also(correctly) been panned because the FA class in 2014 is weak and frankly a title contending team shouldn't be cutting financial corners so that they can maybe get a star FA in 2014. However, a more promising avenue for the Bulls to improve as D-Rose enters him prime is via trade. In 2014 Nikola Mirotic should be just about ready to enter the NBA, the Bobcats 2016 unprotected pick should start looking better to prospective trade partners, and Luol Deng's contract expires and presumably becomes a lot more palatable for teams looking to add an good 2 way SF who will only be 29. Also if Carloz Boozer is still a productive player his expiring contract may also be appealing trade bait. It will take creativity, but I have a hard time believing the Bulls can't fetch a difference maker with a package of Mirotic, Bobcats (likely) lotto pick, Deng or Boozer, and the Bulls 1st round pick just to make it interesting. Who can they get with those assets? Its too soon to tell, but excellent players become available for a variety reasons and the Bulls appear to have more than enough to snatch one of those players.
In the mean time the Bulls have likely moved from legit top 3 contender to that "things may have to break right for us to win the championship" contender. I don't see the Heat as a juggernaut even if they are clear favorites right now. An injury to any of the big 3 (see 2012 playoffs) or a drop off in play (see Dwyane Wade's age) and they become just another team (see Pacers and Celtics series). With Dwight Howard going to the West there aren't really any up and coming powers in the East, so with a break here or there (if any team has earned a break its the Bulls) and the Bulls could find themselves playing for the championship, they could even do it this year(yes I know that's optimistic, but not pie in the sky optimistic. ) Its fashionable to relentlessly bash the Bulls off-season, but they still have a bright a future, and despite overpaying a mediocre player in Kirk Hinrich, a smart front office.