Can the Chicago Bulls make the playoffs?

Major change is now underway in the Eastern Conference, and the Bulls future stock price continues to trend upwards.

Just moments ago, it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that the Bucks rescinded restricted free agent Jabari Parker, which then resulted in Parker signing a 2-year $40M deal with the Chicago Bulls — the second year is a team option.

Now, the Bulls will roll a lineup of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. out for next season. With decent players like Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis, Justin Holiday, and Denzel Valentine coming off the bench. Despite being immersed in a complete rebuild, the Bulls look to be promising next season. Teams that threatened for the 8th seed in 2017-18 have since gotten weaker over the past couple of months.

The Charlotte Hornets recently lost big man Dwight Howard, leaving a hole in the big man depth that was good for third in the NBA in rebounds per game. The Hornets are also bringing in new head coach James Borrego from the San Antonio Spurs.

It seems the Hornets will be trying to find their identity next season which could lag their progress. To add, the Hornets have been rumored to be interested in trading Kemba Walker soon — so that could be in play for the trading deadline next season.

The New York Knicks could be without star big man Kristaps Porzingis for a large portion of the season due to his ACL surgery. James Dolan even reportedly said that Porzingis could miss the entire NBA season because they do not want to rush their franchise player. The Knicks would then be left with their young players like Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson — and others to develop instead of focus on a playoff run.

The Cleveland Cavaliers recently lost LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. The 2016 NBA champions are now left with older players that struggle on defense and no flexibility to change that. Cleveland has now entered the complete rebuild mode, and could even trade Kevin Love if the price is right. Players like Kyle Korver, JR Smith, and of course Kevin Love could be players for Cleveland to deal for future draft assets.

Next season is not all about a draft pick for the Chicago Bulls. The front office has been tantalized with the 2019 free agency class that features players like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker and others. In order to impress those free agents, the Bulls young core has to impress and show they can bring it in May and possibly June.

With two potential max contract slots open after this season, the money will be there for the Bulls. Players like Cousins, Kyrie, and Klay Thompson need to see potential for a Finals run to invest their career into. Those players will get their max contracts if healthy. With other Eastern Conference foes trending down, the young Bulls can certainly threaten for a playoff spot. They must grow up fast to land the big fish.