For years, I thought Jerry Reinsdorf sat on his hands, and his wallet, not willing to do what was necessary to become a champion. I thought Jerry was pleased with the Bulls being a cash cow, and didn't want to further that into more winning.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
As it turns out, Jerry was waiting. Lurking in the shadows like a ninja, Jerry came out with a bang and Batman'd every bad thought I had in my tiny ignorant head. The Bulls are roughly $30 million under the cap after trading Kirk Hinrich to Washington. Mind you, the deal cannot become official before July 8th due to NBA rules. He chose not to re-sign Ben Gordon, a move I was opposed for a very long time, gave up a pick swap to move John Salmons, and essentially made plans for the future. A lot of teams do this, but there's something that they can't do in the meantime that the Bulls could: Win.
When Jerry saw the emergence of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, he understood that the team could ride those two for the rest of this season, and move everyone else. Those were his horses. Those are still his horses. With rumours circulating of the Bulls moving Luol Deng, it's become painfully clear that Reinsdorf has every intention of doing three things:
1. Sign two max free agents and possibly another free agent with the extra money saved in a potential Luol Deng move. Ray Allen/Anthony Morrow anyone?
2. Sign both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to large extensions.
3. As a result of the first two, kill an old myth. That myth being not paying the luxury tax. Because with two max players plus Noah and Rose extended very soon, the Bulls will become a tax payer.
Like a phoenix, Reinsdorf raised from the ashes that has been the Bulls since Michael Jordan left the club in 1998, and has put the city of Chicago in a position where the hottest ticket in town next season, might be at the United Center - And I'm not talking about the Blackhawks.
Jerry did what he had to do. He ignored the simple-minded outcries from fans, myself included, and patiently waited for his time to attack.
I know. The Bulls don't have LeBron James yet, so what's all the fuss about?
Well. This is arguably the biggest free agent class in the history of the league. Putting yourself in a position to get two of those players, as well as presenting the best possible winning option to those players, is something that demands respect. Even if the Bulls completely miss out on free agency, this is a Las Vegas casino that HAD to be visited. In an era where expiring contracts now fetch you near all-star talent, Jerry didn't sacrifice the team for the greater good, but rather played it out with a cool hand and slowly operated from within to get the money available. Where teams like the Knicks and Heat gutted their roster completely, the Bulls stayed competitive and moderately intact.
So moan all you want about losing Ben Gordon (looks self in mirror), John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich. If that's the cost of getting a chance to build another dynasty.. It's worth it every single time.
Jerry. I'm sorry.