Unlike last year, 2015's free agency period has been real fast to go along with the usual craziness.
But here's a quick look around the league after a crazy first day and how it may impact the Bulls chances in 2015-16.
The Cavs also resigned their guys
The Cavaliers, with their management pretty firmly tied to LeBron's wishes, have followed through in retaining the players who helped them win the East last season. The dread of Kevin Love jumping ship was squashed quickly as he re-signed for the maximum. They followed that up with locking up his nominal backup in Tristan Thompson for a 5-year deal of his own reportedly for around $80m. Then fellow restricted free agent Iman Shumpert re-signed for 4/$40m too.
The latter two contracts may have been inflated (though given how this market's been and the cap-jumping to come, that's a tough determination) but this was key for the Cavaliers. Having already committed to being a taxpayer with a core of LeBron/Irving/Love, re-signing their own free agents was one of the few ways 'around' that issue. They'll be paying a big tax bill, but the far more important thing is they have a lot of good players. These are all young guys, too, and ones that seemingly fit quite well given their surge after the trade deadline last season.
They still have some more work to do. JR Smith (unrestricted) and Matthew Dellavedova (restricted) are remaining free agents. They will have the taxpayer-MLE at their disposal, as well as Brendan Haywood's non-guaranteed deal to facilitate a trade and potentially add even more payroll, which is on the one hand pretty funny, but more accurately quite scary.
Other East rivals
Yup, the East still sucks. And it's the reason Gar Paxdorf can fashion this year as a contending one, and why we'll have our annual 'The Bulls can do it this year' piece from Ricky in the early fall. Because outside of Cleveland as a clear favorite, the other contenders (such as they were) haven't been able to really bolster their chances in free agency.
Washington has lost Paul Pierce, and Atlanta lost DeMarre Carroll (though they acquired Tiago Splitter and re-signed Paul Millsap). Toronto is the team that signed Carroll but have yet to replace some of the depth they lost to get that cap space (especially in the frontcourt, with Amir Johnson departing).
The rest haven't done anything significant outside of re-signing some of their own players.
Our pals, The Sacramento Kings
We want the Kings to be good, as the Bulls can get their first-round pick next summer if it falls outside of the top ten. So it was encouraging to see them make a desperate, head-scratching move late Wednesday to clear cap space and try to sign free agents.
I suppose it's less encouraging that their targets include Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, and Wes Matthews, who are not actually good enough to make them a playoff team and potentially could just make things further combustible, but we'll see what they actually do.