Does the Bulls front office hang on to assets too long?

The NBA can be a world of buy low and sell high. One of the tricky things about running a team is knowing when to cut bait with a player and when to hang on to one. Some guys can be effective into their mid to late 30s while other guys lose value in their late 20s. Some players just have a lucky season while other guys whom look like they're having a lucky season develop into stars. How has Chicago done with asset management?

In the Paxson/Forman era, one complaint I've seen frequently about the front office is that they hang on to their players too long and some players are (wrongly) viewed as untouchable by the organization. Here's a look at the primary pieces the Bulls have gone through over that era and whether or not we could have/should have traded them away at a different time.

Eddy Curry 2001-2005

The Bulls traded Eddy Curry to the Knicks in what is probably the third best trade in Bulls history (behind Pippen for Polynice and Rodman for Perdue). The Bulls got Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, and some second rounders for Curry which helped bring in Asik. That's effectively three big men better than Curry for Curry. Nice.

There's no way the Bulls could have done better here, and the only thing that gives you any pause about a round of backslapping is that the Bulls clearly didn't want to trade him except for his heart condition and refusal to do DNA testing.

Tyson Chandler 2001-2006

Chicago hit a home run when they moved Curry, but they struck out moving Chandler. After moving Eddy, the Bulls locked Chandler into a long term deal. He then fell off the map the next season retreating into his shell with more pressure on him under Scott Skiles.

The Bulls moved Chandler for the expiring contract of P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith whom the Bulls immediately flipped. Ironically, had the Bulls kept Smith, this move wouldn't have turned out so bad for them.

That said, Chandler rebuilt his trade value fairly quickly and would have been a quality contributor at center for a long time for the Bulls or could have been moved for more value later. Chicago compounded the mistake by signing Ben Wallace to a long term deal to replace Chandler which ultimately paid him more money for far worse performance.

That said, at the time, swapping out Chandler who completely crapped the bed for Wallace coming off a DMVP season seemed like a good thing to do and the move was lauded by rival GMs and NBA people all over the place. History will show it was a pretty mammoth mistake though.

The Bulls would have gotten a ton more for Tyson had they traded him one year earlier or if they hung on later.

Kirk Hinrich - 2003-2010, 2012-present

Paxson's first real pick in the draft was Kirk Hinrich in 2003, and he was one of the guys who helped shaped the character of the team. The Bulls extended Hinrich's deal after three seasons and eventually traded him away in 2010 (along with a first) in order to free up cap room for a second maximum salaried free agent.

Hinrich's frequently been viewed as a golden boy for the organization by some detractors. The symbol of taking grit and hard work over talent, someone they wrongly have viewed as untouchable.

Looking back on it, the Bulls moved Hinrich at just the right time. They escaped the two highest salaried years on his deal, allowed him to mentor Derrick Rose for a couple of seasons, and missed out on several injuries.

Hinrich was still clearly a good player when he was traded but wasn't worth his salary anymore as evidenced by the Bulls ability to bring him back at two years and a shade under eight million.

Could the Bulls have moved Hinrich earlier for a bigger return than cap room while costing them a mid 1st in a crappy draft? Possibly, but it seems unlikely the Bulls would have ever been able to get much for Hinrich after extending him, especially once his stats took a dive with Rose on board.

Nor can I really complain much about the deal Kirk signed relative to his peers at the time. He probably would have gotten similar or more money had he waited an additional season to be extended as his best season in the NBA was the year after the extension.

Overall, Kirk helped the organization with his play and was traded away when it was prudent financially and roster wise. Hard to make any complaints about the Bulls use of him.

In his present incarnation, Kirk choose to remain with Chicago for less than he was offered elsewhere. His injuries haven't exactly been a boon to the team, but his play has been solid on the court. I might have gone in a different direction with the signing, but I can't really complain about it relative to the other options either.

Ben Gordon - 2004-2009

Ben Gordon's always been a polarizing figure for Bulls fans, especially in relation to Kirk Hinrich. Unlike Hinrich, Gordon could light up the scoreboard, carry a team to victory with his scoring and generate wins. The problem is Gordon could also jack up a ton of shots, turn the ball over repeatedly, and wasn't known for his defense (though I think his defensive liability has been vastly overstated).

While I was certainly a fan of Gordon's while he was here, management was really set against extending him. I talked to multiple people within the organization while Gordon was an RFA, and they were all queasy about giving him an extension and felt he'd end up overpaid. There was a definite fear of losing him, but an even greater fear of paying him.

History will show, the Bulls made the right decision by rescinding their offer to Gordon of nine million per year for five years on an extension. It will also show they made the right call by not attempting to bid on him in free agency when his pricetag was set by the Pistons.

However, given the Bulls were clearly nervous about keeping Gordon, the question is whether or not they could have gotten more for him earlier. After a couple seasons in the league, the Bulls could have jumped on a deal with Memphis to trade Ben Gordon + Luol Deng for Pau Gasol. Granted, at the time Gasol was dealing with plantar fasciitis, and Gordon/Deng looked like two incredible young prospects.

Deng's gone on to make a couple of all-star teams while Gordon was a very good player for a couple more years. Still that trade, which felt ridiculous at the time, would have probably looked okay historically if the Bulls made it. That said, the Bulls as a team would have been left with Hinrich, Sefolosha, Nocioni, and Gasol which would have kind of sucked badly, so overall, I'm not sure the team would have benefited from the move without serious fitting afterwards.

As it stands, the Bulls seemed to know Gordon wasn't in their long term plans after four seasons for sure (pulled a not that generous extension offer), and maybe should have known after three. The problem was in that third season the Bulls were thinking they were a move away from a finals appearance when in the fourth they ended up in the lottery. The value of everyone on the roster plummeted during that time period.

It would have been tough go move Gordon in 06/07 when the Bulls finally put it together and looked like they could make a run in the east, and my sources indicated the Bulls attempted to move him 07/08 but couldn't find a taker since he was viewed only as a rental.

Luol Deng 2004-present

Deng is perhaps the most interesting case on the Bulls. Much like Hinrich, he's viewed as a player who's beloved and overvalued by management. Unlike Gordon, he didn't have contract offer lowered after a poor 07/08 campaign, and the Bulls resigned him to a six year deal. At times during the contract he was viewed as an untradeable albatross while other times a key asset.

The one period of time the Bulls could have considered moving him was with Gordon for Gasol back when the team was quite good, but that deal didn't make worlds of sense and the basis of it working was that other players who ended up sucking would have stepped up. There's still a case to be made for moving him there for sure though as Gordon didn't end up fetching you anything and while Deng's been solid, Gasol was absolutely better.

Still, I'll never fault management for not trading two guys playing at a near all-star level for an older player playing at a low all-star level. That trade has far more ways to go horrifically bad than good for you. In retrospect, you could certainly view it as a mistake, but the mistake was likely thinking Gordon would continue to improve rather than Deng.

After this opportunity to trade him in his third season, the Bulls likely never had a chance again. He struggled with injuries and was on a huge long term deal. Bulls fans themselves largely gave up on Deng and were trying to dump him while sending away assets with him to encourage teams to take him. Fast forward a few years, and Bulls fans are desperate to trade Deng to get a star player back.

It clearly was the right move to hold on to Deng who rebuilt his trade value under Thibodeau as well as being a key contributor to three very good seasons over the past three years. Deng's now an expiring deal and the question of trading him or potentially losing him for nothing comes up again. The Bulls appeared to shop him pretty hard for good value, but were unable to get anything good and so hung on to him to improve their odds this season.

Andres Nocinoi 2004-2009

Andres Nocioni became one of my favorite players quickly for the Bulls. I think many Bulls fans loved him for his toughness, hustle, and occasionally great offensive/defensive play. However, once a guy goes from making three million to 7-8 million, salary cap aware fans often start to notice faults more than strengths.

Nocioni was undisciplined on both sides of the ball, complaining about no one moving the ball while having the lowest assist rate on the team and overhelping on defense constantly. A year into his deal with the Bulls, they shipped him off to Sacramento with Drew Gooden for Brad Miller and John Salmons.

It's fortunate that the Bulls unloaded Noc when they did because he went on to become an albatross the rest of his career while the Bulls got an excellent return. This couldn't have gone any better for Chicago.

Tyrus Thomas 2006-2010

The only question about this trade is whether or not the Bulls could have gotten more earlier. They worked with Tyrus for several years, and he showed all the potential in the world. However, those working with him knew he was a class A knucklehead. The guy with the physical body, but not the right work ethic or attitude to get where he needed to go.

He showed tremendous potential and could definitely put up numbers to back a good salary, but he was a locker room cancer and didn't help his team win. The Bulls shuffled him off for a massively protected draft pick from the Bobcats. It still remains to be seen what that draft pick yields, but whatever it yields is better than having Tyrus Thomas on an albatross contract like the Bobcats.

He was sent home and asked to stay away from the team. Could the Bulls have fetched more if they gave up on Tyrus earlier? Perhaps they could have, but they were certainly fortunate to cut bait with him when they did. Overall, I have no complaints with how the Bulls managed Tyrus as an asset.

Thabo Sefolosha 2006-2009

The Bulls traded Sefolosha after two and years when it became clear he wasn't finding the right role in the organization, and the Bulls didn't want to extend him. They got a first round draft choice for him which was used on Taj Gibson. Sefolosha has gone on to improve his value some in the NBA, and it could be argued the Bulls gave up on him too fast because of that.

That said, Sefolosha probably couldn't be moved today for more than the first round pick the Bulls got, and Chicago hit a home run with the pick, so the move worked out really well for them. Overall, they moved a player who wasn't finding a role and got a quality asset. I'd say they managed the situation pretty well.

James Johnson 2009-2011

The Bulls actually got a first round pick back for this guy. It was a terrible draft move in retrospect (though one I was totally in favor of at the time), but the Bulls quickly realized it was time to cut bait and did so and got a very good return before he became completely worthless.

Omer Asik 2010-2012

The Bulls lost Omer Asik in free agency in the summer of 2012 while getting nothing in return when they were unwilling to match Houston's offer for the center. Houston offered the max they could for three years and due to an odd limitation in the Gilbert Arenas provision, the salary structure became painful for Chicago to match but easy on the Rockets cap.

I don't necessarily blame Chicago for not matching, they're deep in the tax now and would have lost their cap room in 2014 if they had matched Asik which is a lot of flexibility for a backup center. That said, the question becomes should they have traded him earlier to get something of value back?

The answer to that is probably not. AT the time, the Bulls were hoping to win the NBA title and trading Asik would have considerably dented that blow. Derrick Rose tears his ACL later and the Bulls title hopes end and keeping Asik doesn't seem to mean much anymore.

That said, when the decision was made, I don't think you could have moved him. In terms of a S&T this was not actually possible because due to the Arenas provision, the Rockets could offer him considerably more than the Bulls while the Bulls could only match.

Overall thoughts

So in looking back on the moves, I'd say this. The Bulls don't seem attached to their players like many fans have theorized. They didn't, IMO, hang on to Kirk Hinrich or Andres Nocioni too long who were oft considered "organization" guys.

Chandler was much more of an org guy than Curry yet they dumped Curry at the perfect time while not hanging on to Chandler long enough.

Luol Deng has been viewed as an organizational guy, but their refusal to dump him has paid off with much better returns and improved value.

They moved Tyrus, Thabo, and James Johnson for appropriate assets at the appropriate times. Maybe they could have given up on Tyrus earlier to fetch a larger return, but then again Tyrus was the anti-org guy, and we're arguing that maybe they gave him too much of a chance.

Beyond the attachment issues, I think the Bulls have generally done a pretty good job of knowing when it's time to move on and when it isn't. They really had one good opportunity to consolidate talent with Deng/Gordon for Gasol, but I think at the time it would have hurt the team considerably and not necessarily made a better future.

Other than that, the only other time I'm aware of Chicago having a reported somewhat legitimate opportunity to consolidate talent was the thought they might have been able to trade Deng + Noah + multiple 1sts for Carmelo. A deal which strikes me as fairly awful today still, and even that deal is up in the air as Melo ultimately demanded NY and ruled Chicago out.

All in all, besides the draft, asset management overall been a strength in my opinion. There's only been one critical failing (Tyson Chandler) and several brilliantly timed moves (Curry, Nocioni, Johnson) with the other moves generally being solid overall.

Comments

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  • Thanks for the article, Doug. I liked the summary of these moves; makes you realized that the FO has been better than some give them credit for. A minor footnote from the Curry trade IMO is the career of Sweetney. In college, he looked like he was cut from the same mold as Brand and Boozer... but was never able to lose the weight and play in the pros. I really expected him to succeed as a solid 4 in the pros.

  • I too appreciate the flashback to many opportunities involving the front office failing to pull the trigger on a potential deal. I think that although it was a different person leading the front office, Reinsdorf is still the final call. And I think he and the current front office have cold feet based upon the last time they made a big move and went all in with a big move -- trading Brand to the Clippers to get the 2nd pick in the draft to join Curry and Chandler.

    Can you imagine having the second and fourth picks in the draft and essentially having them both be busts with the Bulls? They were supposed to be cornerstones. I think most people think the Bulls should have traded Deng last year for Harrison Barnes. But I think the front office worries about buyer's remorse and a repeat of Curry/Chandler. Still I think you are right. When you have a true franchise player (and I don't feel Brand was that), you have to make moves to get one and then you have to make moves to continually improve the team around that player.

    Now the Bulls lucked out and got DRose as the franchise, they need to always take risks to get better. That is what San Antonio did and continues to do with its franchise player, Tim Duncan. You trade a productive player who was a late first round pick like George Hill to get a better and higher draft pick that becomes Kawhi Leonard. This is the kind of thing the Bulls front office does not seem to be able to do. It was great to get rid of Thabo and Tyrus and James Johnson and even get first round picks for them. But by the time they pulled the trigger on those deals, they only got late round first picks or Charlotte's protected pick which if all goes to plan with Charlotte's pick ends up being much higher first round draft picks than the ones the Bulls made for Tyrus, Thabo, and James.. A case like Harrison Barnes only comes up for the Bulls every decade or so and they clearly missed out on providing for the future and giving cap room to get more assets to support the franchise, DRose, if it is true that the Bulls legitimately could have had Barnes for Deng. Now the Bulls could end up losing Deng for nothing next year or resigning him with a contract that won't benefit the Bulls long-term.

  • I think the point is that when the FO whiffed on a pick (Johnson, Tyrus, etc) they were able to trade them away and get some type of asset back (mid to late first rounder).

    While it was boneheaded that the FO made those picks in the first place, they were able to get at least something on their return of investment.

  • The fact that the Bulls haven't traded Deng basically negates Doug's view on Deng. He has been basically worthless as a trade asset since he had his best season in what was it 05-06. We had one chance to trade him and we overvalued him ever since and everyone else in the league properly valued him, as in they were not willing to give us squat for him.

    Luol Deng is a completley forgettable player in the history of the NBA, and that is the true reflection of his value. When he is gone, no one out side of his family will ever even know that he played in the league.

    Bulls fans, including myself have constantly tried to trade Deng for something usefull, the rest of the league constantly slammed the door in our face, that is the reality of Luol Deng's value.

  • Doug, I normally don't refer to you by name unless it's praising the fine job you do providing Bulls fans with an outlet and somewhat of an insider as a fellow fan friend. And you do a job I doubt exists for fans probably anywhere else in the country. Again, thank you.

    That said your latest bent on complimenting the franchise makes you sound like your on the payroll now sans Sam Smith.

    I left the site for most of last season because I felt the Bulls screwed the pooch(for the last time) with their inaction in last summer's draft. AS you yourself just absolutely blasted the FO(which in case I'm not mistaken consists of Gar Forman and John Paxson)) for their inaction at a cortical point in building a contender with legit offensive weapons for Derrick Rose in essentially a throw away year. Only we didn't realize just how much so as Derrick refused to even lace them up for one game of NBA basketball.

    My long as hell post yesterday in the Houston comparison visa vies Morey article though was fueled really by one thing. My absolute disappointment in the fact that regardless of your affiliations with the Bulls and spending time with Paxson, Forman and other execs and understandable somewhat not burning your bridges and in some ways loyalty, that you ignore the bullshit that Gar Forman and Pax have perpetrated very recently.

    Both leaving Derrick as a profit driving MVP hanging in the wind in his own stupidity rather then quelling the uncomfortable, growing whirlpool of negative public scrutiny and hits to his image that stalemate of uncertainty caused. A terribly egotistical, Reinsdorf supplicating move IMO. People say when Rose returns all will be forgiven and forgotten, but I'm not so sure. They could have easily defused the situation but their beholden to their boss who pays Derrick and Forman's stubborn ego let the furor, clamor call it what you like grow in a festering cloud of indignation.

    You have complimented Pax more times about his brilliant G.M. history then I can count. Without Rose and his drawing Thibs what has he done? Seriously?

    As for Gar Forman he is a petty jerk. Ron Adam's, a crucial figure in that staff and apparently a Rose favorite, his firing was more then likely unnecessary as was the lingering in the wind of Derrick Rose. Pax and Forman are corporate hacks bent on pleasing Reinsdorf even if it means alienating and pretty much shitting on Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau. Yet you are just sky high on them. Very disappointing.

    'So, They're 90% not 99% as in the best jobs by a franchise so what are you bitching about?' Really?! In the wake of this bullshit they've pulled that's your take in this current context of misused power and ineptitude with the only two reasons your relevant in the NBA outside of Chicago? And neither of which you yourselves deserve any credit for really.

    Anyway as nothing is happening either in acquiring offensive talent or the draft which I consider that first round pick a very poor one in a deep talent pool which this draft actually was according to most NBA experts just not star or superstar laden. If Derrick returns to near his old form things will be exciting though I hope his long medium range jump shooting which despite the f-ing PER was superb and a big part of his game, returns where it was at 43 and 44%. That's critical for him to regain that.

    Sorry for the long post again. I do go through stretches like this, but I do care about the Bulls and exciting NBA basketball on my team. I also have a life and a family so it is somewhat irresponsible spending time on these longer posts. I'm sorry my response yesterday was so long and annoyance to you as it is your site. Hopefully no hard feelings in the long run. You are a cool guy just at times are not hard enough on injustices as they deserve IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    RoadWarrior, you are a poor man with Altzimer's Bill Simmons.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Going back to what Doug said yesterday, Houston definitely had some luck involved with the Harden trade. OKC panicked and sold him for pennies on the dollar. Now I do agree that Houston has been very aggressive in trying to build a contender, but what about Dallas? They blew up their championship core by trying to be agressive and go after DWill, Dwight, etc. and they got burned.

    I agree with you the FO did an absolutely horrible job PR wise handling Rose's knee this past year, which is unexcusable. They should have been upfront with fans and let them know about the situation. It put Thibs and Derrick in a tough spot and very may well come back to haunt them (not resigning). I hope it doesn't come to that though...

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    It will definitely haunt the Bulls when Rose and Thibs contract is up if things don't change...u can book that.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Just to be clear, I don't say anything to protect a relationship with Forman/Paxson. I don't have one with Paxson (interviewed him a few times, but that's it) while I've spoken with Gar enough that he'd say hello if he saw me in a restaurant and be polite.

    That said, I have no ties to the organization financially or otherwise. I've never gotten an inside scoop from anyone, incentive, or anything else that would inspire me to write nice things.

    I genuinely feel both the front office tandem has done a very good job running the team. Most people put their expectations in the wrong spot. Sports fans are all about championship or bust regardless of the realities in front of them.

    This isn't to say I agree with every move they make, and I certainly write pretty strongly about the ones I disagree with. However, I do genuinely feel the Bulls have one of the best front office's in the NBA.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I've read your column for some years Doug, and I don't think you've been consistently praising the front office like this ever. In fact, it only takes a quick search to find articles where you have been as critical of the front office as some of the posters in your comments (but more balanced in your views obviously). I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but I'm hoping your next article isn't about how Ron Adams is actually a child pornographer who clubs baby seals in his free time and that's the real reason Forman sacked him - not just some petty power play from an insecure google-eyed freak. Leave the dick sucking to Sam Smith.

  • It's no only about not holding on to guys too long but more so not getting return on a guy you expect to let walk. Ala Asik and Gordon maybe Noce too although he probably wouldn't have netted much.

    I don't see trading Hinrich and a 1st rounder away as a positive? I mean they are the team that gave him that contract and overpaid him in the first place... I a agree in having gone all in for cap space that summer I just feel that if your guys had value you wouldn't have to give away picks to unload them.

    Note the only two players (Curry and Tyrus) that they got value for put them into a position where they had no choice but to trade them before they wanted. I think that is a major point in this discussion.

    There is a theme of not capitalizing when there asset has value. The only times they did is when they were forced.

  • Doug Thonus - Bulls FO Kiss Ass/Brown Nose.

    Just kidding. I could quibble with some of your history writing but overall I have to agree. The real mistake with Tyrus was taking him over Alderidge. With Asik, it is disappointing that they didn't match and then trade him for assets but maybe there is something in the NBA rules that would not have allowed the Bulls to do this?

    I think if Snell and Teague can give the Bulls anything, Butler doesn't take a step back, and of course the core stays healthy (Rose back to his pre-injury level, Deng and Noah staying healthy despite playing +40 mins a night), I think this team as currently composed has a real shot at getting past the Heat. However, Houston, Golden State and OKC will present stiff competition. I am

  • well the Bulls were trying to make a move for Monte Ellis, obviously a flawed player but the point being the Bulls are trying to get a second scoring option next to Rose, this could mean the Bulls view Jimmy Butler the future starting small forward with no intention of resigning Deng. We have to be patient and see what they can do. I'm more concerned with the backup center with Elton Brand being the guy I hope they get. I think fans are sleeping on Dunleavy, he's a better overall player compared to Korver and if we can get some kind of upgrade on the backup center position, this could be a top 3 team in the East again.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I doubt very seriously the Bulls were trying to get Ellis. That's just a lie the bulls put out to make bulls fans think they're trying to make some moves...PLEASE...

  • Lets see I hated Curry, Gordon, Thomas, James(Dickey Simpkins) Johnson and Ben Wallace and I have never been a big fan of either Deng or Hinrich, but could tolerate them as the role players that they are. I loved Noah, Chandler, Asik, liked Taj and Bulter(at least after I saw him play some)

    The Bulls overpaid Hinrich, Deng and Wallace, lost Asik, Chandler and Gordon for nothing. Other teams had to be bribed(1rst round picks) to take both Hinrich and Gordon.

    and obviously, the BozoHole turns out to be one of the worst signings of the 2010 free agent class, only Amare looks to be worse.

    Basically a rank amatuer, with access to not much more than the newspaper and TV seems to have a better grasp of NBA player value than 2 guys who do it for a living.

    Other than lucking into Rose, this team has been either a lottery team or first round fodder since the Jordan era, not much to recommend the guys running the show.

  • I'm shocked to hear that the Bulls couldn't piece together assets for monte Ellis. Even though i may not want do this, but how can Milwaukee say no to Luol for Monte straight up. They don't lose Ellis for nothing and they get an all star on a 1 year deal. If they want to later extend Luol, I believe they would own his bird rights.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    I'd be shocked beyond belief if the Bulls were even asking about Ellis, and no way they are offering Deng for him. I'd do the trade if Ellis only had one year on his contract, but since we have to sign him to a new one, it would not be a wise long term move.

  • I disagree with a few.

    Curry - Clearly should have been moved earlier, he had trade value way in excess of his on court production, which was always terrible. But people over-value the big man who can score, even if he's garbage at everything else. Got bailed out by the Knicks vastly overpaying really, but you could have gotten that sort of return for Curry from a number of teams had they traded him earlier.

    Deng, Gordon, Hinrich - I think it's now clear that you should only sign your non-star free agents if you can get them at what seems like a bargain price. Hence I think they held of to both Deng and Hinrich too long, and handled Gordon perfectly. Harder to see at the time perhaps, as the cap used to be going up faster so what seemed a little expensive at the time of signing often got more reasonable.

  • Is it me or Doug is always defending Bulls management ?

    Trust me guys, we will never win a championship until as long as GarPax will run this teams. They are simply incompetent. They need to get fired.

  • Unfortunately, you are somewhat incomplete in your assessment of the Nocioni trade. In order to unload Salmons (who they got for Noc) they had to give up a first rounder to the Bucks who turned out to be Larry Sanders. Sanders will turn out to be a better player than any player in the Sacramento deal.

    Also, you need to gauge the the harm done by the bad deals and FA transactions. IMO, the Tyrus deal and the Ben Wallace FA fiasco set the franchise back for several years. Without the gifts of the Rose #1pick and Curry's heart issue, this team would be no better than the Bucks.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    The Bulls were considerably better than the Bucks this year without Rose. If we jettisoned Rose and spent 20 million on other players, then the Bulls would not be a 60+ win team, but they'd probably still be in the mid 50s which would be awfully good for a team without a superstar.

    You can complain the Bulls lucked into Rose, but virtually every team that has a superstar lucked into them in some fashion. There's no skilled way to get a superstar or every team would do it multiple times.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    They would not be in mid 50s w/o Noah who they got from a pick in the Curry deal.

  • I think the trade of Tyrus Thomas to the Bobcats is one of the biggest steals in the history of the game. The Bobcats might lose a top ten pick for a guy they just told to go away!

  • I think one thing that all teams tend to do is overvalue their best player and unfortunately pay him accordingly. Heck, he is our franchise's best player so we must pay him like he is a franchise player. Those are two very different animals in some cases. This is not unique to the Bulls, though it certainly applied to the Bulls when they paid Deng.

    My view is that teams should try to build a team that is considered to have a very good chance to get to its conference finals over a multi-year time frame. I know that that is much easier said than done. If a team can do that it will likely get enough kicks at the can to win a championship somewhere in that time frame; witness the Pistons from 10 years ago. If you have a team that is not yet at that level and your best player is entering his contract year how should you value that player? A good start is to look at how your player compares to the teams that are the best 4-5 teams in the league. If that player would command big money on those teams because he is so good then pay him. If not, then even if he is your best player, you are better off trading him and letting someone else pay him. Wait for the opportunity to get a true star. The same applies to signing free agents. It takes patience and one has to be willing to endure the second-guessing of the fan base in some cases but if you truly want to be a championship contender you have to approach your decisions in a very disciplined manner. Don't pay someone just because you have cap room (Boozer).

    In the context of what I have written above it is pretty clear to me that while the Bulls may have made some great small ball moves (Ty Thomas, Johnson, etc.) I think they have whiffed big time on the big decisions, which are unfortunately the ones that end up having the largest impact on the organization. Deng, Wallace and Boozer were big decisions that in some cases were terrible (Wallace and Boozer) and in Deng's case, while not a disaster, it was probably more negative than positive.

  • How about not holding on to LaMarcus Aldridge?

  • In reply to boogernights:

    The Bulls never actually had Aldridge in anything more than a technical sense - they would have drafted Tyrus at #2 if Portland didn't want to swap picks.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--luol-deng--bulls-continue-extension-talks-184545741.html

    Here's the current BAD NEWS about what happens when you hold onto assets too long. Deng should have been long gone 1 year ago or more. Now Bulls are f**k**. It's official, either massively overpay or lose Deng for nothing.

  • In reply to Edward:

    If the Bulls are in contract extension talks with Deng I highly doubt they are not at the stage of trying to get Deng to extend with a pay cut. If I'm wrong and they extend him at the kind of money he's making now then I'll eat my words. Also, what are you talking about it's either overpay or lose Deng for nothing. If he comes back healthy and puts up the numbers he has the past 3 seasons he will be one of the most tradable assets in the entire league. Last year of a contract, solid player, big salary number so he can be utilized as a big cap saver. I'm not getting your logic here.

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