Chicago Bulls wish list, make basketball fun again

Apr 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull plays around with Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) before the game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull plays around with Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) before the game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016-17 season was very rough for the Chicago Bulls and their fans. The team never looked believably good, but seldom was disgustingly bad. There just wasn’t anything realistic to hope for other than a quick death in the first round of the playoffs.

It was a season full of frustration and disappointment. And now it is behind us, time to look ahead. Today, I wanted to present my wish list for the 2017-18 Bulls season.

Jimmy Butler stays healthy

I can’t emphasize this enough. Aside from a couple of weeks of bizarre behavior, Jimmy has been one of the most likeable Bulls players of the past decade. Also, he’s been one of the best. The workload he’s carried is borderline inhumane. Add to it all the trade rumors, a terrible front office, and a team that continues to sink around him and you’ve got a great, All-NBA player that deserves better than what he’s getting from his team. An injury of any severity would be the worst outcome.

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Paul Zipser playing time

Zipser wasn’t amazing in his rookie season, but he was certainly better than most of the other young players on this team. He’s been a refreshing surprise and it’s the small things like a young guy from Germany playing above his perceived level that make all the ugly surrounding it more tolerable.

Neil Funk, clear your throat

I’m so sincere right now. By game 50 of the 2016-17 season, I was exclusively watching the broadcast feed of the other team. I can’t deal with it. It’s like he is trying to make it part of his unique on-air persona and that’s gross. No more for me, please.

Jerry Reinsdorf, sell the team

Yes, this is never going to happen. I had to say it anyway.

Gar Forman, don’t screw up the draft

How long can one GM get by on a single good draft pick? Other than Butler, nothing has worked out for Chicago over the past several years of draft picks.

Set Benny free

The new Benny the Bull is doing what he/she can, but if it isn’t Benny, it isn’t Benny. We all need to give new Benny a chance, but we also can’t pretend that the Benny we knew and loved is walking through that door. Set Benny free in your mind, let him go. He’s in a better place, even if the team isn’t.

No more grey jerseys

Please, please, please. I know that the contract for NBA jerseys is switching from adidas to Nike, but even if the product isn’t the same or as good with Nike, please don’t have a grey Bulls jersey anymore. What a hideous thing.

Don’t exercise the option on Rajon Rondo

There is no real benefit to bringing Rondo back. It’s time for him to go tear up China. The longer he stays in the NBA, the less time he has to immortalize himself in Chinese basketball lore.

Trick Dwyane Wade into opting out

I have no idea how to do this one, but Chicago isn’t better with him on the court and his massive contract is useless. Maybe tell him there’s a fashion show in Antarctica the entire month of June, fly him there, and destroy all methods of communication.

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GarPax: Make a decision

John Paxson and Forman have been wasting literal years on indecision and trying to rebuild through mediocrity. The results speak for themselves – Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne, a bad record, a first-round playoff loss and nothing promising on the horizon. Either go all in or out.

Did I already mention don’t mess up the draft?

Don’t mess up free agency

Don’t chase more guys who are over 30 years old. Please, don’t. It was a terrible idea last year and accounts for more than $37 million of salary for next year if Rondo and Wade are back with the team. George Hill might seem like he makes sense, but throwing four years at him is terrible. Chris Paul doesn’t want to be here and giving him four years is probably a bad idea. Chase Blake Griffin with everything you have, all he can do is say no. Don’t even think about bringing back Derrick Rose.

Help Hoiberg, don’t hurt him

Fred Hoiberg has plenty of real struggles and demonstrated limitations. However, the roster that GarPax handed him isn’t his fault and it’s been a raw deal since the first day he took over. He repeatedly gets below average players and aging stars that don’t fit the style of play he wants to institute. He’s going to be the fall guy for the blunders of the front office, but let him sink or swim with a roster that can do the things he wants done.

Make the Bulls fun again

Some people were okay with the Bulls stumbling into eighth in the Eastern Conference. Everyone else wasn’t. No matter which side you were on, last season was definitely the least fun, least enjoyable Chicago basketball season in recent memory. It was bleak, it was hard. Life is already hard enough, sports should be something we can all enjoy and that inspires us in some way or another. It was very hard to find inspiration in a very bad Bulls team. I just want something more fun.

Today is my last day with Pippen Ain’t Easy. I want to thank Michael Whitlow for being tremendous to work with over the past year. I also want to thank Phil Watson for working tirelessly to promote FanSided NBA and Ian Levy for being available whenever I called on him. You won’t be reading me here anymore, but I’ll still be following the Bulls closely. Thanks, Bulls Nation. See you around.