If you’ve been following the saga of the Chicago Bulls since the end of April 2012, you know that — despite any and all protests from the front office — roster moves are dictated almost entirely by owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s bank account.
Now, to be fair, that’s not atypical in the NBA. Owners get final say in personnel decisions, and that’s been the case as long as the NBA has existed. But rarely does a potential championship-caliber, big-market team — that’s the key — get dismantled because the owner doesn’t want to pay for it. It happens pretty often in smaller markets, since there’s a smaller revenue stream in a smaller market, but it essentially doesn’t happen in big markets. Well, except for in Chicago in 2012-13.
We have, here at Pippen Ain’t Easy, discussed this as it relates to the upcoming trade deadline on a number of occasions. Since the season started — and especially since the Bulls signed Daequan Cook in January — speculation has held that Rip Hamilton’s quasi-expiring contract would be foisted off on some team with cap space for nothing, thus allowing Reinsdorf to avoid paying the luxury tax. As it turns out, there’s not much of a market for a broken-down, replacement-level, veteran shooting guard, even if the other team wouldn’t have to give up anything in return. This has brought us to the point of the Carlos Boozer for Andrea Bargnani rumors.
Theory holds that the Bulls, especially in the wake of Derrick Rose saying he might miss the whole season, are not looking to make major improvements this year, even if it would be more or less the same amount of money. And with their money-saving “assets” looking less-than-impressive, it’s looking like that’s unlikely as well.
In short, don’t expect the Bulls to do much at the trade deadline this year. Doing something — anything — would make entirely too much sense.