Derrick Rose posted on his twitter "Chi town till I die!", and it got me to thinking, is Derrick Rose a lifetime Bull? What if the organization continues to take a profit first, win second mentality to the stadium for the next five seasons. Will Derrick still want to stick around? Would you blame him if he didn't?
The Bulls most famously dipped a toe into the luxury tax (for now) for the first time this season. They also intentionally hard capped themselves unnecessarily in the process by signing Kirk to over the MMLE without using a sign and trade. They did gain a trade exception in this case, but they seem highly, highly unlikely to use it.
They can't use the trade exception this year due to the hard cap they are under. The new sign and trade rules which go into effect next year make it unlikely that they'll be able to use it in a sign and trade [since they'll still be a tax paying team]. They refused to make bad salary + prospects for financial relief trades this summer that it would allow during the draft [the only other plausible use]. While it's a nice piece of flexibility, it's one the Bulls don't seem likely to use.
While it sucks, my belief is they hard capped themselves on purpose as an excuse not to let salary creep up. Perhaps they truly wanted the flexibility of the TPE next summer, but the flexibility is fairly minor at this point unless they have a change of heart and decide to ramp up finances while paying for mid level style players.
All in all, there's little reason to believe the Bulls will ever open the purse strings. Without doing so, there's little reason to believe they'll ever top the Miami Heat [though to be fair it'd only raises the odds a little, but still leaves them pretty low]. However, at some point, if you're Derrick Rose, there has to come a point where you stop and say "WTF?".
Derrick Rose is a dream come true for this organization and for the fans. The home town kid with attitude we all can get behind; hard working, humble, awesome talent, loyal to the city, and truly happy/proud to be a Bull. It'd be impossible to craft a better person to fill the role of Bulls superstar. It's like LeBron in Cleveland if you remove the fact that LeBron's an ass hat.
However, at some point, much like LeBron decided he had to leave Cleveland [don't blame him] to play with better players to win a ring [don't blame him], you wonder if Derrick Rose will reach this same conclusion. Will his desire to become a champion outweigh his loyalty to the city if the Bulls fail to surround him with a championship caliber cast?
If it does will you blame him? This isn't to say there's any scenario where I'd be happy that Derrick Rose left the Bulls. However, at some point, if the Bulls can't make the situation better, I'd get it. If the Bulls continue to play small market basketball with their finances while raking in unbelievable profit levels, then I can't be mad if he leaves.
The franchise has an obligation to want to win as bad as Derrick does, and while I think everyone involved below ownership feels that way, there's no commitment at the top. Commitment to winning doesn't mention the luxury tax. It doesn't ask the question whether a player helps the team win enough to be worth paying, only whether it helps the team win.
It's enough to make one wish the NBA was successful in putting in a hard cap, because then the Bulls would legitimately have no option to spend more and the fact that ownership doesn't care about winning as much as any other big market or good team wouldn't be thrown in our faces. The maniacal commitment to the bottom line wouldn't look so maniacal because it'd no longer be a choice.
However, for now, we can still see that the Bulls will look to field the best team for the money not the best team overall, and if Derrick Rose leaves one day, I'll be sad, very sad, but I won't hold it against him. Not unless he gets the same organizational commitment to winning that he gives.