• Russell Schmidt

NBA Future Power Rankings 10.Chicago Bulls


*Photo via NBAE

The Chicago Bulls couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to overthrow LeBron James’ Eastern Conference dominance. Instead of taking advantage of the stars aligning, the Bulls ended their season in disappointing fashion with a second round exit against the shorthanded Cleveland Cavaliers. Chicago brings back majority of their roster from last season, but this time around, the Bulls will be led by new head coach, Fred Hoiberg.

Re-signing Jimmy Butler to a 5-year, $92 million extension ensures the Bulls will have at least current All-Star locked up long term. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol will all be free agents within the next two seasons. Chicago’s front office will have to figure out whether this current roster has what it takes to win, now and in the coming seasons. Hoiberg has already stated that Noah and Gasol will not be starting together, which could be another interesting twist in future contract negotiations.

Negotiations with Rose will also be a big story in two years. The former NBA MVP has had a rough go of it since 2011. Multiple knee injuries have robbed him and the NBA of his greatness. Rose will earn slightly north of $20 million each of the next two seasons. If Rose can’t stay healthy, negotiations will be VH1 reality television worthy.

*Photo via Chicago Tribune

Chicago has done a good job of keeping their first round selections for future drafts while building a contender. In addition to their own picks, they could possibly receive a first round pick from the Sacramento Kings (top-10 protected in both 2016 and 2017).

As a big market, Chicago is always a free agent destination (smh Carmelo Anthony). They may not have the cap space to sign a max free agent, but they may not need to. With the way Chicago is currently constructed, the Bulls may be able to find the piece that puts them over the top without spending big dollars. Of course this is all based on their ability to re-sign their big names. Chicago will still be a major player in the Eastern Conference.

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Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, ESPN.com

Salary cap and contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com, Hoopshype.com, Basketballinsiders.com

Future draft commitments and rosters information courtesy of RealGM.com

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