With LeBron James moving from the Heat to the Cavaliers, Luol Deng reversing James' route and the Bulls adding Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott to a 48-victory team that also returns Derrick Rose from a knee injury, the East is up for grabs.
That's not to mention a strong offseason from the Raptors, who re-signed Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez and added Lou Williams. The Wizards re-upped with Marcin Gortat and replaced Trevor Ariza with still-crafty Paul Pierce but lost Trevor Booker to the Jazz.
The general vibe from opposing executives last weekend at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas was that the Bulls, if healthy, should contend for the conference's No. 1 seed.
"Everyone looks at the possibilities. Everyone is trying to improve their team," coach Tom Thibodeau said last weekend. "There's still a long way to go."
Heavy hardware: Bulls swingman Tony Snell said he hasn't spoken with former high school teammate Kawhi Leonard, who won NBA Finals most valuable player honors for the Spurs. That doesn't mean Snell didn't notice.
"I look up to him," Snell said. "He's one person who inspires me because I know if he can do it, I can do it as well."
Snell averaged 20.7 points while shooting 52.2 percent from 3-point range through the Bulls' first three summer league games in advance of an important second season.
"Right now, I'm just focused on summer league," Snell said. "Whenever that is over, I'll focus on what I need to do from there. I'll go home for a bit, clear my mind, get some rest and then get right back at it."
Layups: By virtue of their 3-0 record in preliminary play, the Bulls earned the No. 1 seed in the summer league tournament and a bye on Wednesday. They will face the 76ers, who beat the Lakers 85-63 on Wednesday night, at 9 p.m. Thursday. ... McDermott on the optimism surrounding the Bulls, who also will re-sign Kirk Hinrich: "I got a fellow Iowa boy to look up to in Kirk. He's a great veteran who will help me. I've heard (Mirotic) is a great player. There are a lot of good things happening with our roster."