Bulls still scared of luxury tax?

It's time for the Bulls to go all in. It's time for Jerry Reinsdorf to give back to the fans after making about 100,000% off his investment in the Bulls. It's time to win championships.

However, the plugged in KC Johnson is ready to douse those dreams with a bucket of cold water.

Though nothing is definitive, it's considered less of a possibility the Bulls will use their entire midlevel exception on a long-term deal for a shooting guard because of luxury-tax concerns in the first year of Rose's five-year maximum extension near $100 million.

In Miami, the Heat are contemplating how they can ramp up their salary the most before they become an official tax payer and lose control of their full exceptions.

In Chicago, we're trying to figure out how to avoid using our full MLE in perhaps the last season we'll have the option to do so because we're scared of the luxury tax.

Now maybe KC Johnson has no source on this, and he's simply reporting based on history. However, KC has always had a tight relationship with management, and his predictions in terms of management's thinking is typically spot on. Even if he's reporting based on history, it shows that even he's skeptical Reinsdorf will change his stance.

As such, I'll still deliver my "all in" plan shortly [sorry, didn't have enough time to do the full salary work ups last night], but the thought that we're viewing CJ Watson as a SG and TJ Ford as our potential backup PG isn't a plan that improves our chances to win a title. Without spending more money, we'll sit as fringe contenders for the entirety of Rose's career waiting for a miracle.

Dallas just spent 93 million in salary to win a championship, but Mark Cuban is the best owner in sports. He will put his team before his pocketbook. He will do anything to win.

Reinsdorf? Well it remains to be seen. Maybe this is simply paranoia. After all, complaining that we won't spend into the tax before FA has opened reeks of prejudgment and unfairness, but the day of judgment on Reinsdorf's commitment to win vs his commitment to his pocketbook is coming.

The Bulls likely banked over 80 million in profit last year, and paying a hefty tax wouldn't put them in the red by any means, it would just shrink their profit level to perhaps 3rd best in the NBA.


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  • Our only hope is that D-rose starts acting like a diva and demands some changes. Since he's entering his first major contract after his rookie deal, he doesn't have much clout.

  • Id be interested to know how much exactly the Bulls have been profiting this whole time while not paying into the tax.

  • In reply to soldier01:

    The Bulls have made over 1 billion dollars for Jerry Reinsdorf since he bought the team if you count up value added in the franchise and actual cash thrown. It's hard to know exactly how much, but it's well over a billion.

  • In reply to soldier01:

    well, I believe it was Forbes last year that listed them as the most profitable NBA franchise of the last decade and only second to the Washington Redskins in the four major sports. so I'm sure he's made plenty.

  • By doing this, J.R. is giving the Bulls a bad reputation when it comes to major players like Dwight Howard. You look at his list and he has the big spending owners on it...LA, knicks, Dallas. WE should be equals on that list not spiritual brother of Donald Sterling. I would hope he would be willing to go into the first phase of the luxury tax...the first 5 million at the least.

  • Well if Reinsdorf doesn't spend I hope Rose signs with LA after his first contract extension when he's in his prime. I don't want him wasting his time with a cheap ass owner who values profits over championships. But it looks like we'll be the 90's Knicks and Miami will be the 90's Bulls for the next couple of years. I dont think signing any of these older guys like Richardson, T-mac, or Rip will help us beat Miami becus they also will add guys like Dalembert, Prince, Caron Butler. So we'll have to wait 3-5 years before Rose gets his ring.

  • I do think there's a good chance that Miami owns the next 2-3 rings. The only way Chicago prevents that is by making a legit move not signing a MLE guy.

    I have a plan for that to unveil as soon as I work out the numbers.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    As a Heat fan, I had to chuckle when I read KC Johnson's article, describing the Bulls plan of starting CJ Watson, and bringing in TJ Ford to backup Rose. Bulls fans should be outraged if this is Reinsdorf's plan. For the Heat, just adding Dalembert for the MLE makes them appreciably stronger than last year.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Can't argue with that. If this is legitimately the Bulls plan then they will have a near zero chance of beating a healthy Heat squad.

    Without any additions, the Heat will be appreciably better just having the experience of playing together for a year, and adding Dalembart would help them considerably.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    My favorite NFL team is the Cowboys, and I have a difficult time rooting for them, because I can't stand Jerry Jones. If staying below the luxury tax is Reinsdorf's plan, I'm not telling you to not root for the Bulls, but I know what it's like to have a pit in your stomach, because the owner is an asshat (as you like to say, Doug).

  • In reply to RichG:

    Yeah it's absolutely ridiculous, Watson was the worst rotation player for the Bulls last year, starting him would be a downgrade (wow, a downgrade on Bogans, I didn't think I'd ever say it). If they're not going to make a move and go with an internal promotion then Ronnie Brewer has to be it.

  • Doug,

    I agree with your sentiments, but I just don't see who they could sign that would make that much of a difference. I see what the Knicks did in killing their flexibility for years for most of the 2000s and I don't see the benefit.

    I think you keep a bullet in the chamber until you see the guy you want whether free agency (Tyson Chandler - Mavericks) or trade (Gasol - Lakers, big three - Celtics). Otherwise you are stuck with undesirable assets such as the Magic.

    You may change my mind though when I see your plan.

  • In reply to Familyman:

    The Knicks didn't kill their flexibility by taking on money, they actually enhanced it. They just traded for terrible players.

    We won't have more flexibility by not signing someone, but when I say the Bulls really need to make a commitment to the tax, the commitment will come in packaging up trade assets of expiring deals to bring in long term salary.

  • Maybe it's just me, but I think we're in for a pleasant surprise if the right opportunity comes up. I know the Sox will always be Jerry's favorite son and we shouldn't use them as a barometer for Jerry's spending behavior, but he showed last year that he can be convinced to spend if he think it means a title shot. And the Sox are much less profitable than the Bulls.

    I think KC's point was that it's not as though its Kobe, Wade, and a host of other superstar SG's making up the FA market. The Bulls shouldn't just go sign the best guard available for the MLE. If that guy (Richardson, Battier, whomever) is not the guy that puts you over the top, why spend the money and lock yourself into mediocrity the next few seasons? Better to be patient and wait to see if something else comes up in-season/next season via trade/amnesty/FA.

    I want the Bulls to win a title asap, and I want them to make the most of DRose's prime, but I don't want them to lock themselves into a contract this offseason with a player that provides a marginal upgrade and screw their chances of attaining a much better option over the next 12 months.

  • You're doing a great job of teasing your plan, Doug. Can't wait to see it because I'm not sure who's available at SG that's better than the MLE candidates (Nick Young, Marcus Thornton, J-Rich), unless you have a plan to get Eric Gordon, Manu, or Kevin Martin.

    I will be incensed if CJ Watson starts the season as our SG. It will kill all of the goodwill they have built up since the epic series against the Celtics. I really, really hope management isn't that blind.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    Seems like pure speculation on KC's part. Why would they just change CJ's role, when it was already limited to begin with, why not just add to it? CJ was unhappy with the minutes he received last year, so it makes some sense to play him a little bit more at the 2, but then to add Ford? No, that's not the answer to solving the SG problem.

    Pretty sure your plan revolves around Iguodala, Doug. I'm starting to really, really like that idea, especially if they then turn around and replace some of the depth they lost in trading it. with the MLE. 1 MVP + 4 borderline All Stars in the starting lineup + great depth all the way down to 10-11 guys...that can beat Miami. Probably would be favored.

  • Weren't they talking about signing T-mac last week? Can we at least get a rumor of somebody they didn't waste money on before we go into the "Reinsdorf is so cheap" routine. There is a big difference between Miami and Chicago in that Miami can get the value they need to by using their MLE because they already have three all-stars to anchor the team. The bulls only have one. I still think the team as currently constructed can beat Miami in a 7 game series. And I think a shortened season only enhances the advantages the bulls have in youth and growth.

  • I think the missing point is how you define cheap. JR has enough experience to know that just plain spending(even with some analysis) will end up costing the team in terms of salary-cap, trade-flexibility etc.. He is being cheap when he is not spending if the team is over the salary cap and he is not paying luxury tax. Even that has to be done if the management feels it is close to contending.

    JR officially has said that he is ready to go over the salary cap. Do we want the Bulls to be reckless like Orlando and the Knicks or be smart like the Lakers, San Antonio have been. The Bulls are like how San Antonio was in 2000 with a superstar in place and should spend to win multiple championships rather than win 1 and suck for 5 years.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree that it would have been the wrong thing to do in the post Jordan era, and that now is the time. I guess we will see if it happens.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    The Lakers had a salary over 90 million.

    If Jerry Reinsdorf is willing to go 90 million I have a boatload of feasible moves he could make that would make it likely we'd win a title in the next two years.

    I don't think anyone is asking for him to go nuts and make stupid desperation moves, but there are lots of good moves to be had.

  • And I'm not sure just how plugged in KC Johnson is, with regard to player movement & roles within the team, considering the lockout is still in effect

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    Assuming Jason Richardson opts not to sign (and perhaps even if he does), Looks like the best option is to sign Mcgrady to minimum deal and as soon as possible sign JR Smith to midlevel. He may go nuclear on us but I believe he can be this Bulls version of a Dennis Rodman. When he lock in and good he can go Superstar on a team. May need that some nights to beat the heat.

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    In reply to MobtownLarry:

    Mcgrady gets us thru this season until JR Smith comes back from China. In that scenario would release Keith Bogans.

  • Interesting you note the Mavericks. The Mavericks won the title last year and were not a top 2 spender which they had been for the previous 6 years. Sometimes less is more.

    In fact there's very little correlation between spending big into the luxury tax and winning, there's an interesting article today on it: http://www.hardwoodparoxysm.com/2011/11/pulling-back-the-competitve-balance-curtain/

    I don't really feel the argument is pay the luxury tax or don't pay the luxury tax, I think it needs to be evaluated on the basis of whether something is a good basketball mover. If there's a good basketball move that happens to put the Bulls in risk of being a tax payer they should make it, but spending for the sake of spending is pointless.

    Using the MLE is generally spending for the sake of spending, very few MLE signings turn out to be worthwhile, so I wouldn't be disappointed at all if the Bulls don't do it. I mean who are they going to get for the MLE that's an improvement? Afflalo will certainly be matched if we try it, JR Smith is under contract in China, Richardson and Crawford will get bigger offers from their own teams. Maybe previously the Kings might not match on Thornton, but given they now need to get their salary up to the minimum they probably would. Is there anyone else who is an upgrade over a Bogans/Brewer/Korver/Watson committee at SG?

  • In reply to Shakes:

    By my quick numbers, the Mavs were the #1 spending team.

    I agree with the assertion that you should not just spend to spend, but at this stage of the game, no move should be held up because it "costs too much".

    I also am not that big a proponent of the MLE. I'm more concerned with whether they will trade to add salary.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    My bad, the Mavs had less salary than I thought. I was looking at DX's numbers for 10/11, but they have contracts they acquired on draft night on their list.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree, and they need to get cracking on the trade front to hopefully get something done this year. Once Rose is extended it'll be hard due to the increased restrictions once you're near or into tax territory.

    One thing I got wrong: Jamal Crawford isn't going to be someone the Hawks can afford looking at their salary structure. I don't want him mind you, but the interesting possibility is do the Hawks move Joe Johnson and take Crawford for under half the price instead? I really don't see how they can want to hang on to Johnson, since he's going to completely cripple them from making any moves to improve without going heavily into the tax the next 2 years.

    I think Johnson is over-rated and obviously grossly over-paid, but he's also a massively upgrade for the Bulls. It would be the ultimate test of the Bulls' willingness to endure the luxury tax if they'd make a move for him.

    I assume your all-in plan is something along these lines though, since I know you think the Dwight Howard move is as much of a pipe dream as I do.

  • I really don't have time right now to check on stats/figures, but the point is teams like Detroit, Boston, L.A., and Dallas made dynamic moves i.e brought in impact players no matter how far they did or didn't go over the salary cap. Detroit brought in Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace. Those were astute steals/borderline stars in waiting. Boston whether it was Danny and Kev in a wink, wink buddy, buddy deal in one swell swoop landed K.G.(albeit the punk ass who put the punk in ass(?), and the games greatest shooter in Ray Allen. Dallas brought in a supposedly washed up J-Kidd, Shawn Marion a quality two way player playoff tested, Butler for what he was worth, and a heady pick up in Barea wether that was a late round pick or whatever. And the Lakes, despite the later fall off, swooped up Paul Gasol i.e legit post/big scorer.

    Regardless of how much Luxury tax these franchises were or were not willing to incur, all these teams made it happen with big moves. Not everybody drafts Duncan, Parker, and a Ginobli. Yet through shrewd trades and coaching hires Dallas, Detroit, and Boston(with our own defensive guru Thibs) made it happen. So do we really think Pax/Gar, who have proven solid drafting, but no Dumars or Cuban trade/spending svengalis really going to pull in the pieces we need to take the next step. My answer would be... doubt it. Korver, Brewer, Boozer.. two out of the three personally I feel were a mistake. But they "had" to do something didn't they?

    When I hear Boozer talking about last year and this year that the Bulls "have the pieces right now to win a championship" I wanna ralph. We need more offensive talent, and we need guys with proven good attitudes. Certainly not the McGrady's and J.R Smiths of this world. And probably not the Boozers either. Who they get is not really the point so much as they need to pursue legit offensive players with solid attitudes. Still, Give me Prince with the MLE(only 29-30 still shooting high field goal percentage with solid point production and championship pedigree as a good two way player), and then make the trade for the second star realizing you're going to have to give something to get something. Which the Bulls usually aren't willing to do. Honestly, with Jo's abyss-like decline, I'd be tempted to move him while the afterglow of his previous rising/all-star talk/"buzz" still carries some value. Sign and trades work with the new CBA(?) Noah, Korver, Brewer for..??(Nene, Afflalo, ??). And take a chance/bid on risk/reward one season removed all star stud In Brandon Roy. Or C.J. and T.J. as K.C. accepts (F)placidly with no scrutiny/criticism as the cozy, corporate "reporter." Hardy f-ing har.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Someone is going to pick up Roy before he hits free agency. So the only way to get Brandon Roy would be to amnesty Boozer so we're under the cap to be able bid on him at the amnesty player auction (assuming teams that get under the cap through using amnesty are able to bid). And even then there's a risk a team with more cap space bids more than the Bulls can.

  • Thinking about it, Nene would not be a sign and trade, and if you want to keep Jo or not, whatever moves they make the point is it will more likely mean a continued history of not bringing in name/impact players, but settling for spending less/under the tax, and a Bogans/C.J./T.J. low grade caliber player. Again hopefully Jerry spends, and Gar/Pax shockingly wheel and deal into bringing impact players/upgrading the Chicago Bulls offesnively. There are so many players our there right now, and creative things that could be done with value in Jo, Asik, and possibly Korver and Ronnie Brewer. I'd trade Boozer if anyone would return value. But in light of what will probably happen which will be conservative moves and cheapness it's almost funny to invision Doug's grand plan. Though it's appreciated nonetheless, and it's still fun to dream/seek the ways to upgrade the Bulls the way we wish they would.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Boozer isn't going anywhere, the new harsh luxury tax ensures that nobody is going to go for an overpaid guy with 4 years to run on their contract. You can't get value for him so you have to work with him. And having to work with him means you need defense from your center because you're not going to get it from the PF position, which means Noah has to stay too.

  • I wonder if the Adam Dunn experience has changed JR's mind on spending money to win? I sure hope not seeing how close the Bulls were and could be this season. You'd think after 10 seasons of sitting on a pile of cash you'd throw your fans a bone. But what do I know?

  • Honestly the only thing keeping the Bulls from winning a title is one more play maker on the wing and a backup PG. I like adding TJ Ford as rumored and if JR would be willing to take a hit money wise he could have the team that he himself sees winning 4 titles.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    I agree, but I'd rather add JJ Barea as backup PG. If we can't get him I'm fine with Watson.

  • Uncle Jerry needs to finally open up the pocketbook... We will see.....

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