Nov 21, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) and forward Taj Gibson (22) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 97-87. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Chicago Bulls legitimate contenders?

The Chicago Bulls entered the 2014 offseason with high hopes. They earned the first meeting with New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony and flew him for Chicago for a visit. They wined and dined him and let him watch star point guard Derrick Rose work out  but ultimately he remained with the Knicks.

The Bulls then used the amnesty clause to waive veteran power forward Carlos Boozer and quickly used that money. They signed Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Pau Gasol to a three-year, $22 million deal and lockeddown a deal to bring Real Madrid forward Nikola Mirotić to the NBA on a three-year, $17 million deal. They re-signed point guard Kirk Hinrich and signed Denver Nuggets’ veteran point guard Aaron Brooks to replace reserve point guard D.J. Augustin, who signed with the Detroit Pistons. Before all of that, they traded the rights to their 16th and 19th-overall selections to the Denver Nuggets for the rights to the 11th-overall pick, former Creighton Blue Jays’ forward Doug McDermott.

Many believe after an offseason like that, the Bulls are legitimate contenders.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders believes the Bulls will get off to a quick start and are legitimate contenders provided they stay healthy.

I think the Bulls are far better equipped to hit the ground running. Continuity wins championships, and the Bulls have that by the truckload. They have to stay healthy, but like I said below, they have a shot at jumping out early and if they can stay healthy when the Cavs find their stride, they should have a handful of games as a buffer.

Although the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs remain the favorites, the Bull certainly look like a legitimate challenger.

Be sure to check FanSided’s official NBA page to keep up to date on the latest news and rumors from around the league all summer long.

Tags: Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Nikola Mirotic Pau Gasol

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