David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Team "Playoff" or Team "Tank"?

Let me take everyone back a few years. Remember that awful ESPN presentation that led up to the Lebron James’ decision to go to the Miami Heat? The one where he decided to take his talents to South Beach? It never ceases to amaze me how the history of the NBA and how business is run today is defined by 18 months of indecision and rumors about one player. In the last 20 years two things have been staples about NBA business as we know it. One, the Kevin Garnett 126 million dollar contract and two, Lebron leaving the Cavs high and dry to go to Miami.

I was looking over the website and  noticed a comment by [email protected] on the piece written by Quentin Haynes about the Bulls interest in Lance Stephenson in the offseason. Obviously one of the Pippen Peoples is worried about this season. First off, [email protected] thanks for the read. We appreciate it. However, get in line. You are not the only one frustrated with the “Matrix” that is the Bulls vision now. Sure all of the parties involved use the same company line, that the franchise is dedicated to building a “Championship” team. But they have done little to show the actions to back that up. The rumors and anecdotes that have run wild in Chicago has gotten out of hand. There is no distinctive direction of where this franchise is going, short-term or long-term. The Bulls are going to have to stop playing both sides against the middle. Either blow up the team and rebuild for the future or make adjustments now to help for this season. The way things are going now, the Bulls will end up outsmarting themselves and be left out in the cold.

Joakim Noah voiced his displeasure to some fans at the mention of the word tanking. Knowing how passionate Joakim is about the game and being a winner since his college days at Florida, I understand the rant. However, how  can you blame anyone for  using the term. Luol Deng is  gone, Boozer’s future is cloudy, Kirk Hinrich was close to being traded to Golden State before the Warriors went in another direction. Mike Dunleavy has been linked to Houston for weeks. Fans are not saying they want the team to tank. I feel that they are saying that this franchise needs to pick a side and run with it. Don’t trade everybody out of town if you are trying to do something this  year. If you are rebuilding for the future, say so, then do it.

In my piece “The Wrecking Bull Cometh” part one, I talked in detail about the disconnect between management and the players and coaches. This is one of the  examples. The players are not going to tank this season. Based on how, Tom Thibodeau is passing out minutes to Noah, Butler and company, he’s not giving up on the season. If the playoffs started today, the Bulls  would be the sixth seed. That would match them up against the Atlanta Hawks. Who by the way, without Al Horford the Bulls match up very well against. The Bulls are one game back of the Hawks in the Leastern Conference going into the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Management is trying to obtain draft picks and save money. Even the Marquis Teague trade was a cost-cutting effort. If the Bulls make the playoffs, guess what? No lottery. No Jabari Parker. No Andrew Wiggins. Get the picture?

In the “Summer of LeBron” the two franchises that were the frontrunners were the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks. Miami did their business on the quiet, but the Knicks did something  that the  Bulls could do now. Donnie Walsh the General Manager of the Knicks at the time, kept the fans in the loop on the direction the Knicks were going. He knew he had to clean up the mistakes of the Isiah Thomas regime and he had no problems relaying that to fans. He asked for patience for a few years. He said the product would suffer until he reconstructed the team. But he had a PLAN Pippen Peoples. A PLAN! The Knicks did not land LeBron but they did land Amare Stoudemire and had enough cap space to afford to make a trade for Carmelo Anthony. My point, fans weren’t left in the dark.

The Bulls are going to have to make a decision…soon. Either start over and build around the pieces that are Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler or make a trade and stop worrying so much about the cap space. In this day and age you can’t do both. Then after you make the decision, respect your loyal fans  and get them involved in what you are trying to do. If you don’t, if things blow up in your face…well we all remember the 1999-2000 season. How many fans filled arenas then?



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