The Chicago Bulls, unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers, do not boast the services of LeBron James. Once the agreed-upon trade for Kevin Love goes through in late August, they'll be short one Kevin Love as well, and there's really no viable substitute for the former (can we call him that now?) Minnesota Timberwolf.
Already, the proclamations that the new-look Cavs are the team to beat—at least in the Eastern Conference—have come flowing in.
First, let's turn to Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman:
Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are going to rule the East. That's so much talent and production, and their dominance will likely begin immediately. If it takes a year for everyone to jell, as it did for LeBron in Miami, so be it. That core is young enough to contend for years – as long as Love follows through with staying.
ESPN's Summer Forecast has the Cavaliers winning 56 games and finishing with the No. 1 seed in the East, and that seems to be the majority opinion now that Love is aboard a ship that already included both LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
However, it's too soon to foretell that type of greatness for such a young squad. In time, the Cavs will surely earn that designation—just not yet.
Cleveland will indeed be a fantastic team and compete for the No. 1 seed throughout the 2014-15 campaign. However, there are too many factors working against them—and for the Bulls—for any team other than Chicago to enter the season as the Eastern Conference favorites.