Do the Bulls have a plan?

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
anything.

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.     

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  • That surprises me, actually. I've been to Chicago many times, and that's always the impression I'm getting. That Chicagoans wants the effort first and foremost. But hey, I guess I'll take your word for it, since you live there ;)

  • In reply to MortenJensen:

    It's an everything kinda town. There are very very wealthy areas and very very poor areas and everything between. I don't get that label at all. I was downtown the other night and it just amazes me at some of the wealth they have. Maybe the fans are blue collar I don't know.

  • Good post. The problems go beyond the players on the court it's pretty well known now. Landing Derrick Rose was a blessing and curse because it as you said gave management new life. Thats a problem.

    But the bigger issue is the Jerry Reinsdorf and the way he operates by putting good people ahead of winners.

    Being optimistic is one thing but you have to be realistic the Bulls have been making the wrong choices since the MJ years. It's been 10 years and they haven't been out of the second round thats an organizational failure.

    Clearly the goal of this organization is to profit because the fan base will pay to watch a bad team. It's not looking good folks and it hasn't for 10 years. The problem is Jerry Reinsdorf.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    This I will agree with. Jerry has failed us as an owner especially this season. We are riddled with a roster that has injured guys, two rookies, three of the most useless guys around and we have refused to add another guy who can come in and help because it would put us over the LT. Say we signed a Jerry stackhouse or a Rashard McCants for 1 million we would have to kick another 1 million because of the tax, big f****** deal for a multi millionair like Reinsdorf. The organization says they are willing to pay the LT when they feel it gives them a chance to win but the truth is they are only willing when they feel the cash flow isnt coming in as much as they like then they are to make us a little more competitive but they are never up to paying the LT to make us legit contenders. Shame on Jerry, John and Gar for this mess.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    You can't really say Jerry failed as owner considering he got us 6 championships during his tenure here

  • In reply to Dpauley23:

    He??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    Do the Bulls have a plan? Yes, losing.

    In case anyone is missing the obvious, this season is being sacrified at the altar of the 2010 season.

    Supposedly in 2010, the Bulls will be in a very good position to acquire some free agents. Perhaps that's true.

    But there is a real cost to this 2009 season being sacrified.

    When Bulls management does absolutely nothing to improve the team over its tenacious showing against the Celtics in the post-season, what message is being sent to Derrick Rose, Noah, Deng, and others? Did Bulls management have a meeting with the team to tell them to "hang in there" this season because 2010 will be so much better? I doubt it.

    Losing is a horrible habit. The Bulls prided themselves in picking fine young players from winning college programs, only now the young Bulls are getting a post graduate degree in losing.

    If your name is LeBron, Dwayne, or Bosh, how would you feel about coming to a team in 2010 that obviously doesn't mind losing?

    Here's hoping that Bulls ownership does something significant before this year's trading deadline to at least give the Bulls a chance at winning more than 50% of their games.

    PS: During the weekend, friends called to offer us two free tickets to a Bulls game (that was nice of them). We were out of town and didn't pick up our cell phone calls right away. So we missed out on the Raptors beating the daylights out of the Bulls on Saturday. Thank goodness.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    The Bulls have a plan. Quite frankly, its a pretty good plan.

    The problem is the details and execution. This organization continues to make tons of little mistakes and it has added up to years of pain and an inability to execute their plans.

    One good example is the salary structure. The Bulls obviously won't pay the luxury tax. That makes things a little harder, but its not the end of the world. SA and Detroit have been competitive without paying lots of tax. However, to do that, you need value contracts. You need to get people playing above the level of their salary. What do the Bulls do? Overpay Ben Wallace, Deng, Nocioni, Chandler, etc. None of those guys were worth their contracts the minute that they signed them. The excuse is that they were paid "market value". I disagree with that, but even if I am wrong, market value is set with several teams paying luxury tax. You can't pay "market value" and have an above average team that costs less than the luxury tax, almost by definition.

    Then you have the issues the Bulls have with advanced metrics. It sure seems that things like TS%, rebound rate, etc. is completely lost on this organization. Also, the impact of the rules changes that allow teams to double more easily (which necessitates the need for spacing) seems to be an unknown to the Bulls.

    And last but not least, let's not forget that the team keeps accumulating redundant players who don't fit what apparently the owner wants to run. Jerry seems to want a slug it out defensive team. That's one of the reasons why Mike D'Antoni doesn't coach here. To do that, you need heavy, strong big men to dominate the paint, preferably with some post play. Instead, the Bulls keep drafting skinny help side defenders and then try to force them to play a game that they are destined to get creamed at. You also draft a franchise PG that was born to run and force him to slug it out in pick and roll half court sets (without a good pick and roll big man to boot).

    Things don't look good for Bulls fans because the problems seem to come right from the top, and Jerry is going nowhere.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    The only way you can reap the benefits of Rose is by putting players around him:
    PG: Rose
    SG: Shooter
    SF: Athletic Defender
    PF: Noah
    C: Post Scorer

    Rose isn't a Scoring Point by nature. He's more of Lead-Pure. Just look at his sequences over his career.

  • In reply to Simeon2UC:

    Noah is the Center, not the Power Forward.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Oh, yeah, Bulls fans are worthless.

  • In reply to Simeon2UC:

    please explain why you said this?

  • In reply to souleater7:

    "a muffin that had fallen on the floor and had been urinated on by a dog"

    Classic Thonus. :)

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    Classic Morten... :)

  • In reply to rodman:

    Whoops!!!! My bad. (sheepish grin) :)

  • In reply to rodman:

    I think/hope that they're doing enough to draw a big free agent. They're obviously not playing well as a team, but individuals are showing their potential. Noah is up and down, but he's showing that he's getting it and that he can apply his insane motor to being successful at this level. Deng is back at what he does, which is to be a very good team defender, jump shooter, and off the ball player. And with Rose getting more aggressive, hopefully he'll have proven himself by the end of the year.

    Hopefully JJ will get some playing time and give at least a hint of his potential, too.

    So between the draft and free agency we need a shooting guard, an offensive minded PF/C, and to bolster the bench. Outside of Lebron, that's the strength of both this free agent and draft class. And at this rate, we'll be getting a lottery pick, so I'm liking our chances of getting at least one piece from the draft and some mid-range free agency pickups, if not a big name.

  • In reply to evilhoban:

    Great article, I agree with you a lot. The Bulls right now are like a meal out of the trash can. There is really no excuse to this whole stuff. And IMO the only way to get out of this, and don't change that much to risk precious cap space, is to hell with it, play guys who matter like James Johnson and Taj Gibson, give them time and no Lindsey Hunter sightings anymore please. One of the biggest mistakes was getting him and Pargo. Play Thomas when he gets back! Play guys who can cross the midcourt without a 24-second violation. If Miller is not able to run, then leave him on the bench. I'd rather see lots of playing time for Gibson and Johnson. WTH play Johnson at PG if Hunter is the only other possibility. At least the guy can run, if he's out of shape or whatever then play him so much that he gets in shape.

    And somebody tell Rose to get a technical every game. Maybe he manages to get one this season, I'll celebrate it more than a triple double!

    I could rant a lot longer like the most of you, but probably nobody wants to read it.... ;)

    Get Derrick Byars back from Germany and give him a chance.

  • very true.

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