Yes, I realize that is a stupid question given that the Bulls have contracts that expire in the year 2010, strangely connected to the same year LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others will be on the open market.
But have the Bulls put any thoughts to this plan? Because it seems to me that in order to acquire one of these stars, you don't let them walk all over you in the regular season.
Will Chris Bosh look at the Bulls as a valid candidate after the embarrassment that was last night? Maybe in a few months time, but right now he's laughing his behind off. The Bulls were beaten 78-110. A whopping 32-point loss on their home court. That's just not right, any way you slice it or dice it.
After Ben Gordon left, the Bulls believed John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich could replace his scoring and the spacing he provided. Did they ever believe that themselves, or was it (yet again) a situation where they tried to inject some optimism into fans, so they'd still come to games and buy merchandise?
'I'll take fan manipulation for 500, Alex'
The Bulls knew this wouldn't be the case. They knew adjustments were needed, and they knew 2010 was the plan. Which is fair in my book. But then don't give the fans a muffin that had fallen on the floor and had been urinated on by a dog, and tell them it's a new recipe.
I am okay with the Bulls going for 2010. Of course. I'd frankly be disappointed if they let the biggest free agency summer in recent memory go by unnoticed. But as Uncle Ben said: With great power (cap space) comes great responsibility.
This, in Chicago's situation, means you have to make the team attractive. How do you do that? For starters, you don't refuse to include Kirk Hinrich into a package that might bring back Carlos Boozer. You might consider moving Kirk and hanging on to the superior Gordon. You may try to acquire players of need, like a shooting guard. A position the current roster have exactly zero of at this point.
If the NBA was a village, the Bulls would be the retirement home. They're grumpy, set in their way and have no intention to follow the road of evolution the rest of the village has taken. Too harsh? Maybe. But then do something about it. Make me eat my words. Make the Bulls an attractive place for free agents, and then get the applause you right now get, but haven't earned.
The NBA is a business, and I get that. But isn't there some part of you, the fans, who feel basketball is being lost in all this? Where's the joy in seing a group of players come together, try their best and have unbreakable loyalty behind them as long as they go out there and give 100%? I'll tell you where it is. It's gone. Hidden behind the stone cold face that is financial gain and industrial power.
I may not live in Chicago, but I do know something about this great town. People are blue-collar. If you do your best, you'll be accepted. If you only give yourself 50%, you won't be. The Bulls right now are not doing their best. This goes for the players, the front office and ownership.
Can this change?
Yes. Absolutely. While the Bulls have dug themselve a hole in both fan loyalty and on-court production, there's always time to get up and get back on track. But it will require a lot of work from just about everyone in the organization. It starts at the very top with owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who has to understand Bulls fans won't remain as loyal as they have been since the departure of Michael Jordan. Soon, people will stop supporting the team, and if that happens, no more money will come in. Reinsdorf is a smart man, a savvy businessman, and knows the secret to earning money. Therefore, I have confidence in him understanding the simple aspect of spending money to earn money.
Then comes management. The people who speak to the fans, and make trades/signings and draft selections. For a long time, this was the strongest part of the Bulls franchise, but over the last few years, they have dropped the ball. Questionable draft selections, lack of gambles, and an uncanny affection towards certain players on the roster. Getting Derrick Rose gave them new life, and now they have to understand what it takes to develop this incredible talent. Get some shooters, make it a priority to move the players who no longer has a place here, and open up your eyes. Remove that blindfold that has kept you away from trading certain players, and at least make them available.
Finally the players. I really have nothing to say here, other than grow
some stones and things will look a lot better. Playing basketball in
the same way you'd slap a handicapped kid, isn't going to win you
I realise this is basically one big rant born out of the frustration of getting blown out for what feels like the millionth time this season. But Chicago fans are loyal fans, and deserve better. So let's start over, shall we?
The season begins on Tuesday against New Jersey. The first 18 games of the season are dead, buried and forgotten. Clean slate to the players, front office and ownership from here on out. Make us proud to be Bulls fans, guys.