In what’s been an off-season full of mind-boggling signings, constant Dwight-drama and shocking announcements, the Chicago Bulls front office has decided to do… nothing. Well, not nothing. They did drop CJ Watson for Kirk Hinrich. Even as a huge Hinrich advocate, it was a minor upgrade at best.
This brings me to the theme of this week’s column. I’m assuming most of you have watched Saturday Night Live’s “Really?” segment with Seth Meyers. If you haven’t, get on YouTube and do so, because it’s easily the best part about SNL. And SNL is awesome. Anyways, instead of bashing the mind-numbing stupidity of our society, I’ll be critiquing Gar Forman and John Paxson. Here’s the thing. It’s sort of obvious that the players and GM’s are collectively running around like chickens with their heads cut-off this July… you’d think that management would be trying to get in on some of the action, but the most exciting name to pop up in the rumor mill has been Courtney Lee. Really?
The frustration obviously began when Derrick Rose tore his ACL in late April, but the question of being able to win it all without a legitimate second option has divided Bulls fans as much as the Gordon vs. Deng debacle of the late 2000’s. Can the Bulls win it all without making a serious upgrade? In a perfect, Mavs-2011-esque season, sure. I wouldn’t really bank on that happening though, especially with the status of their 1.7% gift in question.
Going into this off-season, fans were looking at a superstar with one knee, three perennial third/fourth-option-type players getting paid over 10 million a year and an essentially wasted season. In essence, everyone knows that some major pieces are going to have to be let go for financial reasons. The financial reasons being that the luxury tax is a tad bit too much to pay to keep the most profitable team in the league afloat. The question was whether to let some of those pieces go now and tank the season, or to keep on keepin’ on and add more pieces to the team the way it’s constructed right now.
Being on the “tank the season or die” boat, my mouth was watering at the idea of trading Deng for a
lottery pick, adding something more for Tyreke Evans or getting a chance to steal a guy like Dorell Wright in the mix of a trade. By the way, looking at how easily the 76ers just acquired him, he probably could have been had for Brewer and a draft pick… the Bulls probably never made an offer. REALLY?
Note that Deng has spent four of the past five seasons sidelined due to injuries and is due to get surgery on his wrist this off-season. Oh, and his value will never be as high as it is right now. So what did the Bulls do on draft night? Nothing great. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Teague pick… but there was bigger and better out there, ie. Austin Rivers, Harrison Barnes. But nah, they’d rather keep holding on to our injury prone swingman who’s going to earn over 13 million dollars this year. REALLY?
The lack of forward-thinking on the front office’s part is really going to make it a daunting task to maintain hope in Chicago’s title chances.
I was a little ticked off at this point, knowing that the Bulls really have no shot at winning it all this coming season. You can look at it as a wasted season from that perspective, but in terms of building the team, this season was a golden opportunity that will probably again be wasted. 2012-2013 could have been the Bulls version of tanking for Tim Duncan. In all seriousness, it still could be but it doesn’t look like management is heading that direction. Or any direction at all… really.
All in all, I was in disagreement with the method they were taking, but I wasn’t all that opposed to making some moves and re-tooling the team in less dramatic ways. I mean, the free-agent shooting guard crop ranged from the obviously unattainable Eric Gordon to guys like Jason Terry, Nick Young, JR Smith, OJ Mayo and Courtney Lee… players that could be had with a little creativity. I’d be hard-pressed to convince myself that none of these guards had the Bulls on their radar.
So I waited. And waited. And waited. Young, Smith and some other guys slowly fell off the board. These guys didn’t get overpaid and they signed with teams much worse than the Bulls… every new Woj-blast was impending a new “really?”
And then I heard names like Derek Fisher, Michael Redd and other veteran players around Twitter. And then talks of the Bulls hoping to scoop up some guy with the veterans minimum popped up. At this point, I couldn’t even muster a “really”. It was more of an “of course” with my eyes rolling.
Finally, the Bulls made their BIG move. They signed Kirk Hinrich to a 2 year-contract. Economically, it
was a good deal. I do like the move, but I hate it as their only move. Another thing with this upcoming season… if there’s any progress to be made, the mentality has to either be all-in or all-out. If they were all-out, the Bulls would be holding a press conference for their latest lottery selection while Deng would be buying a plane ticket to somewhere in California. If they were all-in, we’d have a new two-guard right now. Unless they’re on the phone with OJ Mayo right now, in which case this article will be thrown in to the dungeons of terrible and reactionary blogging, the Bulls are floating in the middle and it’s kind of clear that they have no idea what they’re doing… They’re supposed to be professionals, by the way. REALLY?
I’ve got a little dig for Reinsdorf too. The United Center’s been selling out for the past decade thanks to some shooting-guard guy that you didn’t even draft yourself and you can’t even go in to the tax for one year? REALLY?
Basically, the Bulls are cutting the whole bench mob, making little to no additions while continuing to pay both Boozer and Deng. Unless they hold Rose and Deng out, wait for Boozer to get hurt and make up some Noah injury in order to tank, the Bulls moves (or lack thereof) warrants a huge… REALLY?