Jerry Reinsdorf "unable or unwilling to devote the time to the Bulls"

In a recent tribune article that was news, but not really news, the Chicago Tribune reports that Michael Reinsdorf will take the reins from his father as Chicago Bulls Chairman of the Board.

The article was somewhat of a restatement of a piece by Melissa Isaacson last year, but contained a few interesting quotes including this one.

"I found that I was unable or unwilling to devote the time to the Bulls that needed to be devoted," Jerry Reinsdorf said.

Which really isn't all that dissimilar from the Isaacson quote:

"I under-managed the Bulls, I really did," said Jerry Reinsdorf

Jerry's always acknowledged that he's a bigger baseball fan and more involved with the baseball decisions. While I have no doubts he's passionate about the Bulls, it isn't his first love. I don't have a problem with that. If I owned the White Sox and Bulls, I'd have the polar opposite feeling. I'd love the Sox, but not like I love the Bulls.

That said, I wouldn't expect significant changes from the new ownership in terms of spending. Michael Reinsdorf may be far more attached to the Bulls than Jerry was, but he still answers to the board. Jerry may have undermanaged the Bulls, but his hands off approach doesn't necessarily mean the team suffered in performance any.

As far as I've been able to piece together the Reinsdorfs' own 10% of the Bulls, far less than I thought when I've written some things about Jerry being cheap with the team in the past. Wikipedia shows Reinsdorf as owning 63% of the team, but really it was his syndicate that bought 63% of the team while his personal interest in that syndicate is far less than that amount.

I still think ownership as a whole has lacked financial commitment to winning, but it's not so easy to pin the blame on Jerry knowing he only owns 10% of the team. Michael may care more, but he won't necessarily have the freedom to invest more money into the team to turn it into a winner. Michael's also been leading the charge for a couple years already.

The brain child of combining basketball operations and business operations into closer geographical locations by moving the practice center downtown was Michael's brainchild. Will that help basketball and business operations connect? No idea. Will it be beneficial for the players who'd rather live downtown than deerfield and have an easier commute? Heck yeah.

It's not really clear just how much say Michael Reinsdorf has right now. Paxson and Forman still report to Jerry at the moment, so basketball operations still flow through the older Reinsdorf. Jerry's attitude of hiring smart people and letting them do their job has also generally worked out well for Chicago. It will be interesting to see how (if at all) basketball operations change as Michael gains more control over them.

Will Michael have the same reluctance to spend? Does he even have approval from the board to spend more? In five years after the next CBA goes into effect and likely institutes a hard cap [or a harder one than exists now which is already very painful to exceed at the apron level] will it even matter?

I've had my complaints about Reinsdorf, but Michael has some big shoes to fill. There's probably a lot more downside in terms of how he manages the team than upside. Hopefully he's up to the task.

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  • My question would be whether Michael has the same undying loyalty to his employees as his father does. I think Paxson did a great job of taking this team from the dregs into being competitive or from A-to-B, but hasn't shown an ability to take the steps needed to make it into a champion, from B-to-C.

    If I ran the team, I'd tell Pax that if he can't get it done, he will be replaced with someone who can. On the White Sox side, Reinsdorf's loyalty to Kenny Williams enabled Williams to gut the farm system, creating the mess they're in right now. KW is sort of the opposite of Paxson, a dice-rolling B-to-C guy, but the Sox have needed an A-to-B guy for several years now.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    That would be my question too as they have plateau’d as a good team. Granted it is really hard to take the next step but I don't see a plan in place to even attempt it. Only plan I see in play is just maintain status qou as best as possible for as long as possible. That is the only plan or we wouldn't have scuttled a young asset for nothing.

  • Thanks Doug, now I know that I should be blaming Lester Crown for all the Bulls woes. Screw that guy and his love of the bottom line.

  • A great many teams have lost assets for nothing! LeBron, Shaq, McGrady, and Horace Grant, to name a few. The Bulls had some fine young assets, but they simply could not keep them all because the cap limited their spending.

    Hindsight is better (usually), but not perfect. Too bad about Asik, but this stuff will always happen. In fact, suppose Butler, Teague, Mirotic, and Snell all develop into sterling players. Will the Bulls be able to afford to keep them all? No, but that would be a nice problem to have!

    BTW, the Bulls did not scuttle Asik, they wanted to keep him, but they had to make a business decision. Right now it looks like it would have been better to keep Asik and lose Taj. However, had the FO done it the other way, we might wind up complaining about that too.

    So, How do the Bulls take the next step?
    1) Keep drafting well. That will always help long term. Butler is better than most of the players picked before him. Drafting these guys will keep the team close.
    2) Mirotic and the Charlotte pick are getting closer. Both should help.
    3) Now, one great trade or one great FA signing could do it. The Bulls are not that far off.
    They actually may contend this year in the ECF even without any more moves. It would be nice, however, to somehow get a solid backup C.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I don't know what your definition of nothing is as LeBron, Shaq and McGrady were all traded. Meaning assets went to the teams they left. My definition of no return is ala Asik where the only thing gained by him leaving is droping his salary.

  • In reply to Chad:

    You are correct, sometimes a team gets a little return for their departing elite player. However, when an elite player forces a trade, because otherwise the team he's leaving gets nothing, and that team gets low value for what it lost, that's about the same thing, isn't it? Anyway, teams often lose players with no or little compensation, even elite players, which Asik was not.

    Denver got a haul for Carmelo, but Toronto got nada for Bosh. Se la vie! It's part of the business. The Bulls FO wanted Asik for a run at the title, so they missed their window to trade him.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Every year the FA market results in teams losing quality players for nothing but when it happens to the Bulls, the homers here act like they're the only team it happens to, because they rarely if ever take a look around the rest of the league. What did the mighty Lakers get in return for Dwight Howard? (Homers = people who pretty much only see the home team).

    We can all agree that losing Asik was a bad move, especially with 20/20 hindsight now that he developed into a starting caliber player in Houston and Taj turned in his worst NBA season. I heard several analyst types slamming the loss of Asik mid-season but very few said as much at the time it actually happened. In fact, many here would have preferred to keep Taj over Asik. Let's be clear that losing a defensive-minded 7-footer for nothing is never a good thing, but teams lose quality bench players all the time.

  • I think Michael should be a better manager in the longterm. He seems more passionate about the Bulls and he cares about winning. I'm not saying his father didn't but I do like the change of guard. The NBA will be going to a hardcap or "flex cap" in a few years so the spending contest against the Lakers, Brooklyn, New York should be less of a concern going forward and more importance will be talent evaluation and contract negotiations. My biggest concern is that ownership doesn't hold management accountable and treats them like "family" which is bad for the business of winning. I'm going to see what they do in the summer of 2014, the Deng situation and relations between Thibodeau and Forman. These are all crucial events if the Bulls will position themselves to win a championship with a slight window opening with the steady decline of the veteran Heat team. The big question remaining is if this management team can bring in a second scoring all star next to Rose and many have said they are afraid of the big move or perhaps they are waiting it out to lower the asking price for Kevin Love or Aldridge. Next summer is huge for management and this year is the last stand for the Deng and Boozer forward tandem so lets see what happens.

  • Anyone notice that the Pacers just got better(again) by adding Luis Scola as the back up to David West. Now they have 2 power forwards who are better than the BozoHole. I've always liked Scola, maybe, because he always seems to torch the Bulls.

    Although, they gave up 2 first round picks(Plumlee and nexts years pick) this is still a great move by the Pacers, a team that is clearly in a win now mode. The Bulls are going to have their hands full with Indy's frontcourt.

    Question for Bulls fans, whose front line would you rather have Noah, Bozo, and Taj or Hibbert, West and Scola. Obviously, being saddled with the BozoHole makes it a close call for Bulls fans.

    While I wouldn't take Hibbert over Noah, I could see where a lot of NBA types would, based on Hibberts size being the tie breaker.

    You certainly would have to go with West and Scola over Bozo and Taj as a tandem. Although Taj does(or at least used to) provide a level of defense that those guys can't. Taj sure got lucky making the USA select team last summer to reach his most over rated status at exactly the right time. I still like the guy, but he really needs to play a lot better this season than he did last. He is really a guy that I have concerns about and will be keeping a watchful eye on.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah I saw that thought it was a nice move for them. Looks like they are trying to go big and push that size/post advantage they have on Miami.

    Salary not considered I would take Boozer over Scola whom I do like. You are right though that Pacers PF's are clearly better than Bulls. I do hope Taj steps up although he is not a young guy anymore at 28 and you don't typically see great development at that age.

    Pacers are going to be a tough team and the Nets maybe tough with their adds of Garnet and Pierce as well. Bulls are no longer the clear number 2 team in the East. Which tends to happen when you stand pat for two years.

  • Bulls are very well managed and one of the very few teams in the luxury tax. (I think it's only 6-7 teams over the tax now?)

    Tying the operations to the management after the coming season will be huge. The biggest difference may be for the players and possibly free agents. Living in Chicago in your 20's is amazing and just knowing that you don't have to consistently fight traffic is huge.

    Bulls' decision making has been about as good as it gets in the league. The Asik decision is a stain on the team, but management fully intended to keep him. I constantly say that if he does not get injured in that Miami series in May 2011 that the Bulls would have locked him up before his 2nd year. But, as Portland knows, 7 footers with bad legs don't always work out so well... just a perfect storm that went against the Bulls there with that odd rule that Houston worked to perfection.

    Drafts have been solid in recent years. Tyrus Thomas is the only bust and you have to go back to 2007. James Johnson did not work out in 2009, but you hit on Taj Gibson so it was still a solid draft. And, Johnson netted a 1st from Toronto that I believe helped to land Mirotic in 2011.

    Bulls also paid tons of salary in the 1990's - especially the final 3-peat, not so much the 1st 3-peat. Jordan was paid something like $35 million his final year. I don't even know what the cap was back then, but it probably was not much higher than that if it's currently in the mid-$50 million range!

    Signing Dunleavy when the team is in luxury tax shows that management is committed. Dunleavy is no savior, but a very solid fit and high level bench player.

    It's rare to find an owner that is smart and spends, too. Bulls have to be in the top tier of that model.

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