The changing perspective on Bulls management

The changing perspective on Bulls management

With the drama between Tom Thibodeau and Bulls management reaching its end last week, expectations of a quieter and more steady franchise are once again at a high point. At least, this is what the Bulls tell themselves. The conclusion of the aforementioned rift, has created another one, and one with much higher potential for serious consequences, and that rift is between the trust of the fans in regards to management.

Even before trouble arose with Thibodeau, there had been several poorly handed cases on the résumé for both John Paxson and Gar Forman, which ultimately meant that fans weren't surprised to see yet another multi-season soap opera launch on the steps of the United Center. Blame is always subjective and often a tale of two sides, but the fact that management consistently find themselves on one of the those sides has become an uninviting theme throughout the course of several seasons.

There's no reason to re-hash every situation, but when they include physically assaulting a coach, firing another (assistant) coach because he challenged the decision of making financially driven roster moves, botching a situation that includes a spinal tap procedure, throwing that same player under the bus by saying he needed to "challenge himself physically" while having a broken leg, and doing all this in a manner that rejects open media questions and hides transparency, all signs point to a developing problem.

Now, rest assured, management isn't the sole culprit. Del Negro did overstep his bounds regarding a minute restriction on Joakim Noah, even if the final result of Paxson putting his hands on him was indeed unacceptable and inexcusable. Thibodeau was the Mark Jackson version of the Eastern Conference, putting up fight after fight, and constantly drawing parallels to the past. Fair enough, he never deserved the send-off he received, but that was more an ownership decision than anything else.

As for Luol Deng... Well, okay. Management just completely messed up on that one several times over.

But even if blame can be shared in most of their lover's quarrels with coaches, players and whatnot, the common theme of having management present in these quarrels is the problem. It's now reached a point where fans are tiring of that pattern, even to the extent that some flat-out wish to see organizational changes in the form of a pink slip for both Forman and Paxson.

To reiterate, the underlining problem here does not seem to be the fact that management necessarily have been wrong here and there, but rather that they appear to be on lifetime contracts, giving them ample opportunities to be so again and again, but without any sort of consequence. In some manner, it feels like whatever happens, they come out clean despite having equal, and in some cases more, blood on their hands.

Logic would dictate that both Forman and Paxson wouldn't be given another chance if they find themselves feuding with Fred Hoiberg at some point in the future, but the likelihood of them staying, as opposed to Hoiberg, is a favorable one. If you can get away with fighting a co-worker, you can probably get away with anything. The loyalty factor, while admittedly impressive to some extent, has reached levels that now sees fans ask tough questions about the priorities of the team, while generally questioning if ownership is willing to make the tough call of moving on to someone else down the road, if problems keep finding their ways into the inner workings of the team.

To many, the close ties between Jerry Reinsdorf and his leading men is a hindrance, not an asset, and there are growing concerns of them living by a double standard. The much criticized public statement from Reinsdorf regarding Thibodeau's dismissal, included a bit that you have to wonder if management and ownership operate after themselves:

Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together.

What Reinsdorf is saying here is not wrong, but is it applicable to how the Bulls run their organization? Ron Adams disliked seeing Kyle Korver traded away to save money, and he was vocal about it. This got him fired, even though you can make the argument that Adams was indeed trying to make the point that growing together as a team will lead to success, and moving someone to save a buck doesn't help move that ideology forward. Adams questioned the move, likely several times over, and was fired. The notion here is that you have to listen to your boss, which is true, but that sort of invalidates Reinsdorf's "unified" comment. Both Adams and Thibodeau raised questions regarding roster decisions and were ultimately dismissed in part because of that. With that in mind, Reinsdorf's point about being unified now reads as everyone has to be unified as to what he, Paxson, and Forman decides.

Let's be clear. If that is indeed the thought process, then there isn't anything unified across all platforms. Then it's a soft dictatorship in which the three leading men are expecting blind commitment to decisions based on their know-how and experience - which is admittedly vast - but it'd also assist in destroying trust. Case in point, the Adrian Wojnarowski piece that described just how toxic that environment had become, with an assistant coach "taking no chances" when he turned on the fan in his office to talk about the rift in place.

Additionally, it also doesn't help Chicago's case that their constant inability to give straight answers to any type of tough question, is built on the thought process that they can buy off fans, and the media, with generic responses that offer little to no detail about the things questioned. It's gotten to the point where tough questions at press conferences are almost avoided, seeing as everyone in the room knows they won't get anything of substance that in any way presents an insight to the world that management live each and every day. The Bulls lead the league in politically correctness at press conferences, which hurts them spectacularly when they find themselves in public skirmishes and people are looking for straight answers, and are instead fed lines that could make any politician proud. Ironically, it seems the way they conduct themselves behind the scenes is anything but politically correct, which makes the contrast look that much more drastic.

This reads as an anti-management post, but rather, this is a presentation of a new and deeper perception of the Bulls, who is inching closer to being synonymous with drama and inner-working conflicts. Read it as concern. Read it as a plea for changing times. Read it as advice in actually implementing all the great things Reinsdorf talked about in his quote above, but is not practicing.

The closed-off, non-media-friendly, non-personal, non-engaging, non-transparent communication is a PR problem that has reached a point to which it'll be exceedingly difficult to come back from. Presenting an image of themselves as always being without blame, unless it's absolutely undeniable, is ironically getting as old as Thibodeau looking back to draw parallels from the 90's. Thibodeau didn't get with the program, and is now out the door.

Now it's time for management, and ownership, to prove that they don't live by the double standard they appear to be.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • Nice piece. I think the Deng synopsis pretty much says it all.

    Something tells me that between the completely vindictive and unnecessary parting shots at Thibodeau, and the absolute best buddy crony hire in Fred Hoiberg, a guy who was a player on Iowa State when Gar Forman was an assistant coach and then remained friends with one buying their house from the other one, these two moves to me signal the end is near.

    Hoiberg, I'm sorry to me at that presser he looked like a deer caught in the headlights as he me made just some ridiculous statements. Personally the guy is undoubtedly decent and a brave man facing serious health challenges with class and dignity. But as a prospective NBA head coach he talks about his "championships" he won.. in the Big 12. Then he says if not but for a "few bad breaks" they would have made it to the Final Four. Excuse me, but the guy made it to one sweet sixteen and otherwise the farthest he got was the round of 32. He must have meant his precognitive knowledge of bad breaks that would have befell him/his team had they moved on.

    I know some fans/posters don't want a buzz kill, and will be optimistic about their new coach until he proves otherwise. I also know that being pre-programmed for acceptance as was "Thibs" for his association with an NBA championship(though it was not as a head coach) it feels like that die is still cast for Hoiberg. I already here nicknames like Hoibsy for god's sake. Now if those are challenging, somewhat derogatory labels then that's one thing, but that's not what I sense here.

    I sure hope I'm wrong about my initial impression and being underwhelmed by his resume, but if the team does fall into disarray this coming season after Gar/Pax/Dorf ties $25 Mil into this Cyclone inside track buddy then the 13 year party of John Paxson and lesser rein of Gar 'ol bug eyes ' Forman will be over.

    I'll tell you one thing, if Noah comes back next year regardless of salary, and is expected t be a major minutes starter I think that is a huge sandbag tied to the new coach coming out of the gate. And he better hope McDNP finds his three point shooting and likewise Niko because that would/will be a huge help. Sad thing is if Rose has injuries and or Butler a heavy loss "rebuild" season/era will likely be excused even if Hoiberg looks like a mistake.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Don't coaches have a shorter lifespan whereas GM's tend to have a longer one.

    I don't understand the fallacy of supporting a successful GM that has some personality flaws.

  • This is absolutely true. I think it has reached a boiling point now, especially since the whole Thibs thing was covered by the national media FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. Everyone knew Hoiberg was going to be tapped, and it was just a matter of when the Bulls would fire Thibs.

    The other incidents didn't seem as long lasting in the national media (and I don't think the Deng thing really got any steam) but it really reflects poorly on management. It seems so useless too, to try and fight your coach.

    The best teams have the same vision for what they want, and management will let coaches coach. There has to be separate circles where each person can have autonomy to make his own decisions. Now, I think it was time for Thibs to go, but the way management was very poor. They do a great job drafting/scouting, but they are just feeding into the stereotype about the Bulls management that dates back to the 90s. There's a reason why so many FA have spurned the Bulls, and fairly or not, I think the perception about management is a key factor.

  • "he never deserved the send-off he received". Yes he did.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    He and mangement disagreed, yes, but how does that warrant a negative send-off?

  • In reply to Morten Stig Jensen:

    When you fire a coach, you have to give some reason(s). Would you rather the Bulls just threw out some more PC crap that says nothing as you complained that they usually do when communicating with the media. Not sure where I heard this, but when things end they always end badly, otherwise they wouldn't end.

    As fans we all became frustrated with how stubborn Thibs is and we barely see the tip of the iceberg. I imagine this problem was exponentially worse with those that he had to work with on a daily basis.

    This was a major personality clash that went on for years, maybe Thibs earned his less than positive send off. We have no idea what went on behind the scene's and/or how badly Thibs behaved.

    Personally, I think that this is a big to do about nothing. What's that they say about the golden rule, he who has the gold, makes the rules. Reinsdorf has it and delegates it to Paxson and Forman, that's life.

    Also, the fact that players essentially avoided or dreaded coming to the Bulls training facility to work out on their own because they would be ambushed by Thibs is extremely damning against Thibs and a fireable offense all by itself.

    I'm not necessarily a big fan of Bulls management, but my sense is that Thibs had it coming and I can't feel sorry for a guy who can't get along with the people paying him millions per year to work for them.

    Also, with regard to Deng, while the Bulls mishandled his medical treatment(perhaps more than once, although he never had a broken leg), they have ultimately proven correct(the second time around) on his contract situation. After overpaying him the first time, they refused to do so the second time and the market has proven them correct. Word out of Miami is that they are praying that he opts out of the second $10 million year of his contract.

    It is also quite likely that Deng has Thibs to "thank" for his current situation, being a broken down dog before the age of 30. Which is also where Butler was heading if Thibs continued to coach the Bulls.

    It was time for everybody to move on and I don't think it's worth losing even a millisecond of sleep over why or how it happened.

    I've always been a fan of Steve Kerr in every capacity that I've seen him, so if Hoiberg is anything like Kerr then I'm happy to have him, especially in contrast to Thibs.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I would have typed out a long response, but for the most part I think I'll just go with "what BigWay said".

    But I will add:

    After a while, so many of the negative assumptions about management turn out to be false, and you wind up just laughing at stuff like Mort just wrote (no offense Mort, it was very well-written and lots of fans share your opinion)

    - Like BigWay pointed out, a huge portion of fans (and even Deng himself) laughed at the 3 year, $30 million offer he got. Turns out the FO was right, Deng got less.

    - Reinsdorf is too cheap to:
    buy out Boozer and pay him $17 million to play for another team

    fire Thibs and pay him $9 million over two years unless they could "trade him"

    Pay a decent salary to a coach (Hoiberg certainly got a good contract for a rookie NBA coach)

    I've said it before, and I"ll say it again - Bulls fans should follow the other 29 teams as closely as they follow the Bulls, they'd see that they aren't so dysfunctional after all (they just get more coverage because they are still considered an "elite" franchise)

    As many "unbiased national people" there are who think the Bulls organization sucks, you'll find many, many, many more people who will say they are actually a class organization (all things considered, both good and bad - the haters just focus on the bad and ignore the good, even when the good disproves much of the bad they have been bitching about)

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Interesting how Thibs covered up Management fails, Korver for Hinrich, next man up with no excuses yet Management failed to deliver a team offensively capable of taking on Lebron. Thibs never complained about any of that. True maybe Gundy was his mouth piece, but there was plenty of negative leakage in the media before Gundy started Yapping away. At the end of the day, even at the Corporate level you rarely see business rip apart their former managers in the public eye like that. There is no reason for a public commentary except to prevent that former manager from getting that next job and that's what it look like they are doing to Thibs. Put a huge black eye on his time with the Bulls and forgetting the huge positive steps he took. There was no reason for Riensdorf to rip Thibs so publicly when his coach backed management in the public so many other times. He could have complained and he could have cried, but he did neither of those things yet his bosses got mired in pettiness.

  • Great article Morten!

    I am glad that it finally became widespread knowledge of what two faced douchebags we have leading the Bulls. I have been done with Paxson going back to his epic collapse of 2007 which led to dumb lucking his way to Derrick Rose. The 2007 summer of the failed big moves and the overrated Bulls roster came crashing back to earth hard. The following season he got himself a front man (Gar) because he couldn't handle the heat of being the GM anymore. He is a coward who doesn't take any responsibility for anything.

    I would say there is a 100% chance that the Hoiberg relationship ends terribly. When have Gar/Pax had a good ending to a coaching tenure oh yeah that would be never and that goes back to pre Gar when Paxson fired Skiles on Christmas.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Don't forget Cartwright was on a short leash before the Skiles hire and getting wacked 14 games into a season.

    Interesting how Paxson's management style is so much more different then MJ. MJ had the rep of being a ruthless teammate but at the corporate level stuck with people too long and benefit of the doubt while Paxson the direct opposite.

  • Jerry Reinsdorf has had only two management teams during 30 years of ownership – Jerry Krause and Gar/Pax. It’s a problem because Jerry Reinsdorf only hires sycophantic yes-men, who by definition never question ownership. All the behaviors Morten lists in this article (political correctness, corporate-speak, evasiveness, etc.) take precedence over true leadership and championship acumen.

    As we watch the Blackhawks compete for their 3rd championship in 6 seasons under new ownership control, we Bulls fans can only hope for a similar transition when Jerry Reinsdorf inevitably loses control of the Bulls franchise as Bill Wirtz lost control of the Blackhawks. Once finally out-from-the-shadows, son Rocky Wirtz has been spectacular in his management of the Blackhawks.

    Perhaps the one hope for Bulls fans is if son Michael Reinsdorf, when his time inevitably arrives, can similarly inject a new level of basketball acumen and leadership to a very tired and toxic franchise; and an ownership more concerned with control and politics, league leading profits, and obedience, over true leadership and a determination to win championships.

    Because we already know what we are going to get from the remainder of Jerry Reinsdorf’s tenure – more of the same. What about those 6 rings, you say? Do we have any lingering doubt that those 6 rings belong to Jordan/Jackson and not the “organization that wins championships?”

  • In reply to Edward:

    I think if the team wins you credit the players but if they lose you blame management and ownership.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yep, that's the way most fans look at it.

  • Ron Adams disliked seeing Kyle Korver traded away to save money, and he was vocal about it. This got him fired

    Yo that's a good move by FO, if you have a coach being the trumpeter of dissent, that's a great way to have players turn sour on the organization. I would hate to loose a player that we drafted and developed to free agency. Yes, it sucks to trade a very good player for nothing. Obviously, no one besides the owner benefits in this scenario. With that said, no organization can be successful while retaining saboteurs.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    The funny thing about the coaching staff crying over losing Korver is that they never really knew how to use him in the first place.

  • Mort, I agree with the points you made. I can't understand how Paxson can have a job essentially for life after he had to fire coaches for being either an emotional wreck (Skiles), incompetent (Del Negro), or not "team players" (Thibs). In each case Reinsdorf has (or had) to cough up millions after they were let go. What are the odds that Hoiberg lasts five years? Based on past experience, not very good. But what does Paxson care? It's not his money and he knows Reinsdorf is too loyal or too stupid to fire him. Does anyone think that if the Bears didn't clean-out the FO that they would have anything near the terrific offseason they have had?

    On another note, doesn't anyone find it curious that the guys who killed the Bulls on the perimeter (Dellavedova, Jones, and Smith) were just awful last night? This seems to confirm my belief that one of the Bulls biggest problems all year has been perimeter defense. Think about it. These scrubs and castoffs did a tap dance on our perimeter guys' heads. That's a big reason we are not in the Finals.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Who is responsible for perimeter defense? The point guard, shooting guard, and small forward? Perhaps losing Deng and essentially replacing him with Mike Dunleavy led to that collapse.. or perhaps putting Gasol in at Center, pushing Noah to PF added to an overall degradation of team defense.

  • Great post. Will respond later.

  • You know the more I think about it, the more I just think the Reinsdorf cranky epitaph to Thibs was simply about money. Reinsdorf, money you say..??(ha, ha insert here).

    Jerr doesn't want fans to be alienated by firing what is perceived by many as a winning aka 'solid' coach. By placing a concrete indictment of fault on him ex post facto it doesn't leave Gar/Pax/Dorf i.e the front office looking like the bad guy essentially hanging an "innocent" man.

  • Good article Morten and good posts from everyone. I have to say it's been a long time coming for management to finally be brought out in the open. They've made so many questionable decisions over the years it's a wonder it's taken this long for the public and media to notice. I 100% agree with RoadWarrior and Chad regarding the coaching situation and managements flops dating all the way back to 2007. So I really don't have much ground to cover.

    Quite frankly I'm at a loss for words at how incompetent the front office has been. You have to think if they didn't luck into Derrick Rose the whole franchise would have came crashing down a long time ago. Fast forward to today and it's easy for people to blame all the teams problems on Rose's health or Thibs coaching methods and they do play a part as well, but the truth is management has been botching this team up long before Rose or Thibs arrived and continued to botch things up with piss poor free agent signings almost every year. In retrospect Boozer and Wallace were actually the top free agents on the market when we inked them to a deal, but both of those players were in their 30's and already on the decline when we paid them max money. Both of them should have had a contract similar to Gasol and if not then we would have been better off without them. Furthermore both of those guys hurt the development of Tyrus Thomas who was a lottery pick and oh, speaking of Tyrus Thomas there's yet another dumb decision to trade Lamarcus Aldridge who was clearly the best player in the draft for Thomas who was clearly raw and some scrub Viktor Khryapa. I can't think of which was more stupid, that or trading Elton Brand for Tyson Chandler. At least this season they made a strong push for Carmelo Anthony but Melo isn't stupid. He knows this Bulls team isn't winning anything no time soon so might as well get paid and ride things out with the Knicks.

  • I really don't understand how so many people think the FO did wrong in what they said about Thibs, and other bloggers have similar feelings with me so I don't need to re-explain why it is silly to be upset about the handling of that, it's quite obvious....

    The biggest concern of every fan is WINNING. Since getting lucky with draft position for Rose, the FO put together a team that should have been to a couple of finals. The biggest reason they never got there is simple, D-Rose got hurt....often....their hands were tied and they really had no shot once that happen....and in their best chance to get to the finals, the coach seemed to be a significant reason the Bulls couldn't get past a lesser Cavs team...I guess I just can't get upset with the FO, since they have made more good decisions over poor ones, and I blame the players and coach for not getting it done, but mostly bad luck with injuries

  • In reply to Keep:

    I don't know i think it has more to do with the players that the FO surrounded Rose with than anything else. You have two role players on the court in Noah and Hinrich who both receive lion share of the minutes and neither one of these guys can shoot even if their wide open with the rim right in front of them. We went this entire season without a real starting calibur small forward. I think Dunleavy is a nice weapon to have on any bench but he's very limited as a starter. I was scratching my head that we didn't even try to fill this void at the trade deadline knowing we would need some help with Lebron James. So people can get on Thibs for playing Butler the way he did but we really had no other options because this is the team the FO put together. It was the same with Deng because at the time we had no shooting guard and it remained that way for years until finally they drafted Butler. Even with Butler in the beginning nobody could tell for sure if he was a small forward or a shooting guard. We only found out he's a guard this season. So I don't think even if Rose was healthy we would have won anything. Not when your teams second best player is Ben Wallace or Carlos Boozer.

  • Bulls management has always been unlikable. Most owners are vilified, after all they are the privileged rich that Americans are trained to hate. The next time I see someone sympathize with an elderly, ugly Jewish businessman will be the first.

    I think the shots against management are for the most part comical, but if you've hated them all along, like say, Jeff Van Gundy, the parting of Thibs gives you the evidence you wanted of an incompetent management team. Other franchises are successful, ours is "lucky." I guess LeBron doesn't play for the Bulls because of management and ownership. comparing to the Blackhawks is comical as well not only because the sports are so different, but because this Bulls ownership group has already won 6 friggin' titles and the only explanation that works with bad ownership is "they're just lucky." Uh huh, whatever. If Reinsdorf would just sell the team, then LeBron will play for the Bulls and Popovich will coach the Bulls accessing to some of you.

    The Denver Broncos fired their highly-regarded coach just to bring in "their guy" but since their GM is a handsome former champion athlete he gets the benefit of the doubt. If you think you aren't influenced by looks, athleticism and public speaking ability, you're lying to yourself. I don't agree with those who say this will end badly because Hoiberg is their first hire who is really the one they wanted and not the one they got stuck with. Of course, he had to show the ability that many I the NBA thinks he has.

    That stated, my view has changed somewhat. To answer BigWay's question, yes I do expect them to spew some PC crap instead of publicly throwing the guy under the his. Looks like finger-pointing to me. How many coaching hires do these guys get to make? This should be their last. If it works out, I'll give them credit for finally finding their guy but if not, then they should have been fired along with Thibs. This is the crucible for GarPax and Reinsdorf as well. If they suck as bad as some of think they do we'll find out soon. If Hoiberg is a winner, you can always say they were just lucky.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Roman if I didn't know any better I'd think you were Jerry Reinsdorf himself the way you always are quick to jump to the FO defense whenever anyone questions their motives. I get it that nobody is perfect and the grass always seems to look greener on the other side not even just in sports, but all fans can do is call it how we see it, and from the looks of things Gar/Pax/Dorf can't seem to get it done. They've had plenty of opportunities, plenty of luck, in fact they've been more fortunate than almost any other team in the last decade.

    As far as I can tell the front office is the problem and they've been the problem all this time. It's not the coaches and it's not the players. If this were just the 1st time they had a problem with a coach or even 2nd I would give them the benefit of the doubt but they've already struck out 3 times and this last strike out was more public and nothing less than ugly. I agree with Van Gundy when he says the bulls management showed a lack of class with how they handled Thibs. It seemed personal to me and to publicly try and undermine your head coach after he's brought so much success despite all the injuries is a damn shame. Granted I had issues with Thibs as well but they didn't have to throw him under the bus the way they did. That was totally unprofessional and really shined a light on the kind of people they are. Maybe if they did a better job at trying to communicate with Thibs and help accommodate him instead of taking things away ( firing his assistant coach ) and bringing back pets ( Hinrich ) things probably would have turned out a lot different. All I'm saying is there's always two sides to a story and I think Morten summed it up perfectly with this," Blame is always subjective and often a tale of two sides, but the fact that management consistently find themselves on one of the those sides has become an uninviting theme throughout the course of several seasons."

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Ajay, if I didn't know better I'd say you were Jeff Van Gundy! Lol.

    I agree that I typically defend management. I think they're good, not great. So if everyone here was saying they were great, I'd argue that they're not. But when I'm reading from many people that they're bad, they're the problem, etc. well I can't help but disagree.

    The post is called "the changing perception" and for most, nothing has changed. If you thought they were bad before, this just confirms it.

    If you didn't get to the end of my post, I don't blame you, but I mention that my perception is changing for the very reasons you cite -- how many coaching changes do these guys get to make? I also thought the communication around Thibs' dismissal was in poor taste. They could have just gone the Denver Broncos route, i.e. "We have philosophical differences on how to best take the next step so it's time to part ways".

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Again, I go back to the idea that things always end badly, otherwise they wouldn't end.

    Look at Pat Riley with the Lakers and then the Knicks. Look at Phil Jackson with the Lakers(twice). 2 of the all time great coaches, but when things finally ended they went bad, it was time to move on.

    Even Jerry Sloan with Utah. So in that sense all coaching hires eventually end in failure. The only obvious exception is Pops, and that hasn't ended yet, so we don't know. Unless he retires early, on his own, that could end badly too, heck, he was supposedly within one game of getting fired early on in his coaching career.

    Again, while not necessarily sticking up for management, you can't really blame them for all the coaching "failures". I'd say it's about 50/50, with Thibs being a good hire, Skiles a push(good early, bad late) and Del Bimbo being a bad hire.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Excellent points. The other thing I'd challenge is the notion that ownership/management is the problem. I'd even challenge the notion that there is a problem. I guess there is to fans who feel entitled to championships even though only 8 NBA franchises have won since 1980, though a 9th franchise will join this year. So I'd say there are roughly 20 franchises with much bigger problems than the Bulls but you can complain if that suits you.

    Look, we all want to win championships, but if you're going to be angry about not getting one well, you're going to be angry most of the time. This ownership and management group consistently gives the Bulls what they need to compete. The same people complaining are the same ones who said the Bulls would never pay the luxury tax but they did. Said they wouldn't amnesty Boozer but they did. Probably didn't think they'd pay Thibs $4MM per year to go away but they are. This is nothing like the Blackhawks, who were the worst franchise in sports. This is about going from good to great, the most difficult step to take in sports.

    To the extent that not winning championships is a problem, the big problems are 1. LeBron doesn't play for the Bulls and 2. Rose is always injured.

    When Rose is healthy, the team is in contention. Just because they can't get over the hump to beat LeBron and win championships doesn't mean there something wrong with ownership and management. Thibs' 5-year run as head coach is pretty typical for a NBA coach, even a good one.

    I do think the public statement from Reinsdorf was in bad form, that Paxson should not be laying his hands on any employee (even though most of us wanted to choke VDN) and that there should be a limit to the number of coaching hires a single GM gets to make and they're going one over that limit in my book. Not "Woe is us! We have horrible management!" but they need to get their act together coaching wise.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I don't think anyone expected the Bulls to actually win the championship. What people expected was for them to compete, to be title contenders. In fact most people would have just been satisfied with Beating Lebron James for once. When we were up 2-0 in the series people started acting like we already won the championship lol. But we never made it past the second round again, and barely made it past the Bucks. Honestly I think the Bucks could have still won that series but Dunleavy was playing rough and being a hack. Don't get me wrong I'm happy for the win but I'm not a fan of playing dirty to win. it just goes to show just how far the Bulls really are from competing.

    I do agree with you about Derrick Rose's injuries, and I see where you're coming from about management.

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