So the Bulls are out there cautiously avoiding the luxury tax while generating massive profits every year while the White Sox are throwing money around willy-nilly trying to get up to .500. I wrote two articles on massive expenditures of the White Sox this year on Peavy and Rios and was met with criticism over how baseball economics are different, and how the Sox aren't done yet.
Well the Sox sure look done now don't they? They're not technically eliminated, but they gave up some time ago and are far enough back that they're all but eliminated. They're presently three games under .500. While the argument about economics in baseball is still up for debate, the argument over whether spending money on these moves helped this season is not.
I'm not sure how real White Sox fans feel about the moves either. Clearly Rios looks like a mistake of mammoth proportions, but there's still at least some hope that Peavy comes back next season to help the team even if he didn't provide a boost now.
Still, if the Bulls are sitting at 20-23 later in the season and have a chance to trade for Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh in a trade that pushes them over the luxury tax limit and gives up the Jerome James contract which should be covered by insurance the rest of the season will they do it? The basketball people will want to, but will the business people allow them to?
I hope so. I think so. I don't know if I could accept being a Bulls fan if the answer is no, but there are doubts lingering. Not about Gar Forman or John Paxson, I've respected the job the two of them have done as a combination in the draft and trade department. In fact, I think they've been excellent in both areas. It's on the business side that things have been worrisome.
Contract negotiations and the ability to spend money have been the two areas which seem to have tripped up the Bulls the most in the recent past, and while Paxson/Forman have had their struggles with negotiations. Reinsdorf certainly isn't solely to blame, but his fingerprints have been on the biggest failures in terms of extensions/free agency (Ben Gordon leaving, Luol Deng getting overpaid, and Ben Wallace coming).
Those two factors, contract negotiations and willingness to spend money are at the forefront of whether the Bulls become a contender or get locked into the good team state. They need to convince someone to come, they need to be willing to spend the money, and they need to continue to spend afterwards, into the luxury tax, to win that title.
The Bulls have generated 10x the profits of the White Sox in the past decade, and in this recessionary environment, the teams willing to spend in basketball will have opportunities to hoard talent like rarely seen before. The next few seasons, prior to a larger economic recovery, represent the Bulls best time to strike. Hopefully, they're willing to spend the money. They've earned it.