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.
"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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