The Eastern Conference is once again wide open. The Chicago Bulls may be a young and unproven team, but they believe they have to talent to compete. Still, in order to get back to the playoffs, they might need a little help. One of the best players in the league leaving his team in the East to head west certainly qualifies as such an event.
After agonizing weeks of waiting, it appears superstar Kawhi Leonard finally made a decision as a free agent. He will leave the Toronto Raptors to join the Los Angeles Clippers. This after the team sweetened the pot by trading for Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George in one of the largest blockbuster deals for draft picks in NBA history.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news. Indications were that Leonard was ready to commit to the Clippers if they got George. This they achieved, setting the stage for a massive showdown in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
“The LA Clippers are making a blockbuster trade for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, clearing the path for free agent Kawhi Leonard to sign with the Clippers on a four-year, $141 million contract, league sources told ESPN.
In an 11th-hour move to keep Leonard from partnering with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers are trading four future unprotected first-round picks, a protected first-round pick and two pick swaps to the Thunder to get George, league sources told ESPN.”
Chicago Bulls don’t have to worry about Toronto anymore
This is great all around news for the Bulls. Suddenly the best team in the Eastern Conference and reigning champions lost their best player. The odds of them repeating have fallen off a cliff. Some could argue they are at risk of not even making the playoffs. As things stand, the Eastern Conference little to no depth in terms of obvious contenders.
Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler to Miami. Kyrie Irving left Boston for Brooklyn. Only three teams won at least 50 games last season and all three of those teams lost a core player to free agency. Three of the playoff participants barely finished above .500. This is a prime opportunity for the Bulls. If their young core can come together this season, they might be able to bring playoff basketball back to Chicago.