Bulls front is a facade for the fans

Bulls front is a facade for the fans

Jerry Reinsdorf sent out a letter, Gar Forman did a Q and A, and Tom Thibodeau knows we have more than enough to win. However, the front put up by the owner, GM, and coach is merely that. Everyone knows the season is over and reading between the lines it looks more likely than not that the Bulls will act that way.

Maybe it’s Gar just being a politician?

Question: But why not trade some of your free agents if you might lose them?

Forman: Again, we evaluate everything constantly in the goal of becoming a championship team. I don’t want to get into discussing any particular players since we feel we have a strong group that is going to have a good season. But like any organization, it’s an ongoing process of evaluation to do what’s best for the franchise.

If the same question was asked before the Derrick Rose injury what do you think the answer would be? My guess is that it’d be quite a bit different.

This doesn’t mean the Bulls are dumping all players, but I’ve been noting for awhile that this season was likely the last for this core if it failed to win a championship. With a championship no longer on the table, what’s best for the franchise is to make sure no one walks for nothing if it can be avoided.

Fans often think the Bulls lost Omer Asik for nothing, but that’s not true. They lost him for the chance to compete for the title in 2012. That chance lost all of it’s value when Derrick Rose tore his ACL, but up until that point the Bulls had every reason to think they could win the title that season.

If they had dumped Asik for a pick and lowered their odds of winning the title, I for one, would have been pissed off at the time. You can’t judge a move in hindsight and say they should have traded him because Rose would tear his ACL three months later.

However, this time is different. Keeping Deng around for the end of this season does nothing for the Bulls. It likely does worse than nothing, because it likely improves their record enough to push back their draft choice further from the impact players.

The Bulls presently project to get picks 18 and 19 in the 2014 draft. One can only hope Deron Williams gets healthy enough to drag the Nets out of the gutter and that Tyson Chandler can come back and give the Knicks enough lift to push them up as well. The two franchises are in a sorry state right now, but if they can push their way back into the playoffs it’d be a big help in pushing the Bulls picks closer to the top.

Six wins actually isn’t so many that the Bulls couldn’t get #sorry4jabari or start #riggin4wiggins. They’d need to tank fast and hard, but the lottery is frequently won by teams in the 4-6 spot. They don’t need to have a bottom three record to have an outside shot at one of the big three in the draft.

Trade Luol Deng for anything of value and Carlos Boozer for a similar length contract but of a worse player, and the Bulls are right there. Sure, it won’t make the games any fun the rest of this season, but these two guys can help keep the record afloat this year and aren’t part of the long term puzzle anymore.

Instead, decisively move downward fast and hard.

Let’s face it, the Bulls next best shot at putting together a title team will for the 2015/2016 season. The players that have a chance to be on the team then are as follows:
Derrick Rose
Jimmy Butler
Joakim Noah
Nikola Mirotic
Taj Gibson
Tony Snell
The two picks they likely get in 2014

Given that your core will come from that group, there’s one thing that makes it look like a legit title contender and that’s if one of the picks in 2014 is a star player.

Maybe the Bulls hit the jackpot on Mirotic. Maybe they can also hit it in the draft. In order to win a championship, you typically need to get extremely lucky. Chicago can position themselves to get extremely lucky by trading Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer ASAP.

With any luck they finish the season with under 20 wins, get three picks [one from Deng trade, ours, and Charlotte pick] in this draft and have one of their pick land them in the top three where they can get a star. Maybe they can trade the other two picks to move up and get another higher caliber player as well.

If everything works out perfectly, they may consider selling off Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, basically get down to rookie salaries in 2016 and say “Hey Kevin Durant, how’d you like to join a team with three star players in it and oodles of cap room”.

Yes, it’s the longest of long shots, but you don’t win titles by playing the conservative route, and the best part of this plan is that in order to lay the groundwork for the ultimate end game you don’t have to give up anything meaningful in the present except a potential first round playoff exit this season.

If the Bulls are willing to sacrifice the rest of this year, a year which already has all the tickets sold, then they can likely shed a ton of money on Deng’s contract and luxury tax dollars, get a draft pick to help them with the future, and position themselves to possibly get a superstar in the draft.

Yeah, Gar Forman can’t go out and say that, but that’s what’s best for the franchise.

Bulls won’t apply for/use disabled player exception

With Derrick Rose out the remainder of the season, the Bulls could apply for a disabled player exception which would allow them to bring in another player at up to the MLE on a one year deal.

However, with the Bulls deep into the luxury tax already, a season with no hope, and a lack of players worth signing, there’s no reason for Chicago to consider applying for the disabled player exception. As I noted above, the Bulls are best served by weakening the roster, so even if there were someone available, it’d make sense to pass.

Anyone who’s left available would also be available at the minimum anyway. The disabled player exception really only has value if it can be used in normal free agency when there are still players available worth paying.


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  • Yea! Thats right

  • If memory serves me correctly, the season before the 2003 draft Reinsdorf publicly challenged his Bulls team, coached by Bill Cartwright, to win at least 30 games that year. The Bulls met that challenge, and we got Kirk Hinrich in the following draft. What a complete blunder. Considering who was in that draft, the Bulls made an historical mistake. Let's hope history does not repeat.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Wow. That hurts. But, you know, we were in the lottery for about 4 years prior to 2003, so the Bulls may have been sick and tired of tanking. Kind of like Cleveland was before this year by going out and signing Bynum. Over the summer, I think the Cavs felt like they had enough high lottery picks and non were really panning out.

  • Your analysis, Doug, makes sense.

    Basically, this is a business, an entertainment business, and it will be far more entertaining for Bulls fans in the future if they can field an elite team. So, whatever makes that happen, or rather, makes it more likely to happen -- Do that!

    Next season actually could be pretty decent. Suppose they trade Deng and Boozer now. They get a pick for Deng, as you mentioned. For Boozer, they probably have to take back salary, but I would think only if it expires at the end of this season. And the FO might have to throw in some cash to make that happen.

    In this scenario, the Bulls will have the cap space next summer to sign an elite FA, like possibly Carmelo Anthony. Plus they can bring over Mirotic. If Rose returns at, say, 90%, he could still be a fine starter at PG. Thus the starters could be:

    This team could contend. Plus if any of the picks next year hit, or if Teague or Snell hit, you can see how the Bulls could have a dynamite bench.

    The FO needs to be really smart this year. Are they up to it?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    BTW, moving Boozer now gives the Bulls the option of amnestying Rose in the summer of 2015 if his play falls off the cliff next season or if he suffers a third serious injury.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Rose CAN'T be amnestied. That provision only applies to contracts signed before the new CBA. Just wanted to reiterate that, since I've seen it mentioned by quite a few folks. Cherio

  • In reply to Hoover:

    My bad then. O well. Thanks.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Bulls won't likely be able to move Boozer for an expiring, nor would they have enough cap room to sign an elite player even if they clear both Boozer and Deng.

    Moving them just helps you tank and prepare the next wave.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    You, I and others have pointed that out since they signed Gibson last year. Even with Deng, Bozo and Hinrich gone they will have about $10-12 million in cap space depending on where the new cap number comes in.

    That is the best that we can do, in order to get Anthony, assuming you would want to pay him that much, we would have to get rid of both Gibson and Noah, or either one of them and Dunleavy and maybe Butler, Teague or Snell. I am still not sure how doing that would affect our ability to bring Mirotic over. Do we have something like the MLE to use on him if we use all our cap space on Anthony or Lebron in everybodies wet dream fantasy scenario.

    Your right, the best, essentially only move the Bulls can make is to dump all the guys that are not coming back next year, horde as many draft picks as possible, then keep your fingers crossed on those picks, bring over Mirotic next summer, and maybe have enough money left over for another MLE level free agent for no more than 2 years, saving up all our cap room for the soon to be famous 2016 plan.

  • "But like any organization, it’s an ongoing process of evaluation to do what’s best for the franchise."

    That to me is the biggest problem with the Bulls. They over analyze to the point where no decision is made at all and opportunities are lost. I understand this is a business and you don't want to make risky or hasty decisions, but even those are better than no decision. The organization continues to play it safe and as a result the Bulls situation continues to get a little worse every year. What's been happening with derrick is unfortunate, but the bulls should not be in this big of a bind as a result of it. With Rose out of the picture all that remains is all the organizations poor decision making and failures.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    After giving it some thought, this might turn out to be a good thing. this just may be the kick in the balls the organization needs to get their act together.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Agreed, hate that Rose got injured again but this may in fact get the FO to grow a set and make some bold moves.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    It's a tough thing to be a real GM instead of an armchair one. The armchair ones complain about all the moves not made, but most of them would have already completely and totally fucked over the team with the first "bold" plan they had.

    In reality, you don't get that many shots with your assets, so being really careful isn't a bad thing. I'm not defending everything they've done, but much of the criticism levied at them is for doing things that would have likely been like the Magic being bold and trading for Gilbert Arenas or Vince Carter or the Knicks being bold and getting Steve Francis and Jalen Rose. Ideas that were highly, highly unlikely to work and very likely to radically worsen the position of the team if they failed.

    I do agree the Bulls are slowly losing value on all the non Rose pieces as they age and fail to consolidate them into anything else but am not sure any good options exist.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agreed, making moves that actually work out is thousands of times harder than any of us realize, even if we are mostly venting when we comment as fans.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Reading your original comments on rebuilding, it is littered with wording like "long shot", "lucky", "work out perfectly", etc. A lot of things would need to go right for the tanking scenario to put the Bulls in a better position long-term. There's a much higher likelihood the Bulls will simply end up in mediocrity hell for the foreseeable future.

    Just the draft position hinges on so many factors...the Bulls ability to tank, other teams' performance, the draft lottery (I'm sure several teams were figuring they had a great shot at Rose in the '08 draft). Then assuming you hit high in the draft, you still have to pick the right guy, and you won't know that until it's already too late.

    Mirotic is no guarantee either. I'm sure everything going on with the team right now can't be very appealing. MIrotic appears to enjoy where he is at, and can't be real excited about Rose's health and the prospect of the team getting busted up. But even if he does decide to jump in, who's to really say how his game translates to the NBA. He will probably be a good player, but there's no certainty.

    I'm not saying a change shouldn't be made, but there's a greater chance it will backfire, rather than lead the Bulls to championship glory.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Disagree. I think a lot more things would have to go right under your preferred scenario. Moving short term assets for long term ones might not get you the home run, but it's better than the alternative. Mediocrity hell is doing nothing here.

    What plan do you propose?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm not saying Doug's ideas are bad, or there is a better way to go. But getting rid of Deng and Boozer, and bringing in a couple draft picks will not necessarily make the Bulls automatic contenders. There are so many factors outside the Bull's control, it seem overly optimistic to assume these changes will make the Bulls elite. Maybe I'm completely off base with this line of thinking. Honestly, I hope I am wrong.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    I think Doug's contention is not that it will automatically make the Bulls elite, but that it at least has a chance. Not tanking almost certainly sees the Bulls become one of those scrappy mid play off but no realistic chance at a championship teams for the next few years.

  • This is just not how the Bulls FO operates, they want to field a playoff team to have the fans engaged and ticket sales going even a mediocre one. I believe they think Mirotic can be that "lottery pick" star next to Rose and thats how they'll proceed. So the 17th pick in the 2014 draft it is. The way Hinrich and Teague are running the show, we might just get a lottery pick afterall. Dunleavy suckiness doesn't help either.

  • The Bulls should follow the Magic's formula and get assets and young players when the handwriting is on the wall. For example, the Dwight Howard fiasco was turned into a treasure trove of good young players. Kudos to management in turning a sow's ear into a purse.

    Conversely, the stupid Bulls traded two good young assets, Artest and Miller, for over-rated Jalen Rose in hopes of pursuing the glory days of MJ. Result was that Artest and Miller became all-stars and Jalen continued his inefficient chucking ways to make the Bulls mediocre for the next few years.

  • There's one other scenario to consider, and that is Rose actually comes back before the end of the season. The FO has set him up to be the hero this time. He could be back in 4 months.

    I'd still prefer the alternative of trading old guys and getting younger.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I thought about that too. Could you imagine the nightmare of not officially shutting him down for the season, and then going through the same situation as last year? It appears as if management did at least learn something. I still prefer a tank job.

  • If Deng was a restricted-free-agent (RFA) I could see Bulls possibly getting a draft pick for him - not sure what quality of pick. But I'm concerned teams won't trade for an unrestricted-free-agent (UFA). The new team doesn't even have the right to match contract offers so Deng can just walk away to a third team at season's end. What team would take that risk and give up a pick in the 2014 draft? Deng's not a superstar like Dwight Howard and look how that backfired on Lakers.

    Last season Atlanta was in identical situation with Josh Smith, they shopped him like crazy but couldn't get anything in return because he was an UFA. Smith signed a huge contract as an UFA with Detroit so he had value as a player, just no value in trade because he was an unrestricted free agent (UFA).

  • In reply to Edward:

    Sobering dose of reality, as is the seeming consensus that the Bulls are suddenly a lock to get the Bobcats pick. It is way too early to suggest that they are not one of the 10 worst teams. We really haven't seen the affect that Jefferson will have on that team, it could go either way, and the pick will probably be nip and tuck all year on that one.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    They started off last year as a 500 team as well

  • In reply to BigWay:

    There's no guarantees, but I think it's a good shot simply because they want to make the playoffs. Assuming the Bulls tank, there's only Miami, Indiana, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Washington, Cleveland, Brooklyn, New York trying to make the playoffs. 9 teams for 8 spots, Charlotte only has to be better than one of them. I can easily see them being better than Detroit, Cleveland or Washington. NY too if Chandler misses any more time after this broken leg.

  • In reply to Edward:

    He still can be resigned during the season though right? I think Josh Smith is a little different because most winning teams don't view him as a winning player. The team that did sign him, and I don't know of any other team that would have signed him to a huge contract, had no incentive to trade for him last year because they were not in the hunt.

    I know we're all well aware of Deng's flaws, but he is still highly regarded around the league, especially by the coaches who have voted for him to the all star team 2 years in a row. I also believe there is a team that would take on Boozer and his 50% shooting & rebounding.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    No, Deng cannot be resigned during the season - and that's the problem with attempting to get anything in trade for him now. Deng automatically becomes an UFA at season's end and nothing can be done to prevent that - not by Bulls, nor by a new team Deng is traded to.

    So where does this assumption come from that Deng can suddenly return a draft pick in trade as an UFA??? I'd love it if a team would trade a pick for Deng, but I'm skeptical. Last season Atlanta couldn't get anything for UFA Josh Smith.

  • Doug, I think you read my post from yesterday. If I were a Bulls fan, I would be frustrated if the Bulls didn't get rid of Deng and Boozer ASAP. Don't be disappointed in what you get back in trades. This is for tanking purposes. If Pat Riley were the Bulls GM, this is what he would do.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Agree Bulls need to ALL-OUT-TANK regardless of what they can get in return for Deng. I just question this assumption that Bulls can get a pick for an UFA.

  • Exactly what I was saying on these boards yesterday about having 3 possible picks and one of them could be strong if we can sufficiently tank and get lucky in the lotto. Add Mirotic and bam. Plus, maybe some cap space...

    I would think that some team that is contending would want Deng and/or Boozer. Cleveland? New York? Atlanta? Houston? LA Clips? Dallas? Memphis? Portland?

    Even if we can't get a first for 2014, maybe we can get one for 2015? 2015 should also be a solid draft. Just get something.

    I do think that if we get rid of Deng and even if we have Boozer, we will be really bad. So, maybe we keep Boozer b/c he can be amnestied after this season if it makes sense. Another team cannot amnesty him.

    This is why trading him is so tough. We probably must take on a lesser player with a similar, or slightly less salary for this year and next year. Maybe 2 more years beyond this year. That could impact free agency: Mello 2014 and possibly even Durant 2016.

    So, trading Deng and playing the rookies will probably be sufficient. You keep Butler out twice as long now with the turf toe. You rest Noah and Gibson sufficiently so that you don't wear them out. Keep their minutes down.

    I think you consider shopping Hinrich, too. This would be much easier than trading Boozer and the results would about the same. Teague would be playing 30 minutes per game. He must develop and we probably tank. You know what you have in Teague after this season.

  • Sam, over at bulls.com, has a piece out now saying that tanking basically establishes a losers' culture in an organization. Too bad the Spurs never figured out how to get over that "losers' culture" problem. If they had they might have won 8 titles!

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Sam is great, but he holds back. He sides with the team and players too much. Thinks way too highly of Deng, for instance. He will say stuff like tanking is bad for culture. So, how did the 2003 draft work out for Chicago and just missing out on Wade, Bosh and James? Hinrich went right after Wade to the Bulls at 7. Yikes.

  • Well, how about this

    1. The Bulls keep Deng IF he can be signed for $8-10 mil/year and since he does not have much trade value.

    2. Trade Noah, who makes $12.1 this year, $13.1 next year and $14.2 the following year. That's a lot for a non-rim-protecting center with limited offense. The contract had value on the front end, but not so much the last couple years. However, he is officially an all-star center, a position that is hard to come by and fill, so he holds value. I would think that he could get a first in 2014's draft.

    3. Trade Hinrich, who has an expiring $4.0 million deal. Hinrich could add depth to a contender and perhaps we can get a future pick.

    4. Trade Dunleavy, who is worth a lot since he only makes $3 mil this year and next. He would probably approve of a trade to a contender since he's never been on a winner.

    Trading Noah, Dunleavy and Hinrich facilitates tanking. Essentially, Teague and James would be playing point, Snell would get a lot of time and Mohammed would be our starting center, or first big man off the bench.

    Such a team would be destined for the lottery. Can still amnesty Boozer after this year.

    But, you keep Deng, who is still somewhat young and is a solid player, just offensively challenged. However, with Mirotic and swapping out Noah for a center with greater offense and/or finding a better scoring wing could make Deng's lack of shot creation palatable. He is a great defender and rebounder. If he can be resigned for 3-4 years at $8 million per, perhaps you keep him around and move others.

  • I believe in championship or bust, you go all out to win the championship even if it means being horrible for tanking purposes to get there. I'm not sure the Bulls believe that. A consistent first or second round play off team may be seen as successful, I don't know.

    So maybe it's a facade, maybe it isn't, but it works as a facade because it's believable the Bulls really could think about not tanking this season.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    They had a consistent first or second round team and blew it up in the summer of 2010 to go for the big stars, that alone should tell you that they aren't happy with mediocrity.

    I think they will tank, but you can't blame them if they decide not to- they tanked for 4 straight years after the last championship, and that didn't work out at all.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    They didn't have to tank to do that. I still think the Bulls may be gun shy about tanking after Krause's worst ever 6 year run.

  • Rumored trade activity, Cavs actively looking to move Dion Waiters, talking to the Bulls(Deng), Philly(Turner), and Knicks(Shumpert)


    I'm one of those who thought that Waiters @#4 was way too high, but considering that we might not be able to get any 2014 first round pick for Deng going forward, getting the former 4rth pick in the draft might be worth it. Butler moves to SF, and Waiters becomes our new SG with an(apparently) bad attitude. Waiters makes about $4 million this season and next before the Bulls would have to decide on picking up his more expensive option years. Can we do something better with that $4-5-6 million next summer?

    No, idea who the Cavs would prefer, but it would have to be Deng, right since he is a 2 time allstar and a reigning all defensive team member and the other guys are not that. Personally, I'd probably go for Turner, but does Philly have any interest in Waiters, who knows.

    The Bulls trading Deng directly to NY for Shumpert probably makes more sense for the Knicks(since they already have their gunner bad attitude 2 guard, JR Smith). The Knicks could start Deng at SF and Melo at PF, that combo might make some sense as their relative strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. However, do the Bulls want/value Shumpert, who is the perfect bull, effort and D with questionable to no O.

    I'd have to give the Waiter's deal some serious consideration, as it could help tank this season, and might be of future value when Rose returns, I just haven't seen enough of Waiters to know for sure.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    As far as I can tell Waiter's "bad attitude" is expecting the coach to hold everyone to account whether their name is Irving or not. He'd probably fit right in on the Bulls.

    I don't think he's great, but you wont get much in return for Deng as an expiring, so I'd probably do it. It does help the tank after all. Money will be the issue, only practical way to match is including Bynum. Are the Cavs ready to give up on him and just use him as salary ballast come Dec 15th?

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I would take Bynum and Waiters for Deng. I'd play Butler at the 3 backed up by Dunleavy. Snell or Waiters would start with the other coming off the bench. Then Bynum gives you whatever minutes he can in a reserve role. I think that would be a solid deal.

  • In reply to FreeJoakim:

    I wonder if the Bulls can get more for Deng. It might pay to see what offers come in nearer the trade deadline.

  • This Rose injury may have indirectly been one of the best things to happen to the Bulls regarding the Deng situation. In his contract year, Deng is now the go to guy on offense and is proving his worth to a potention playoff team looking to bolster its roster. The past few games he has scored fairly efficiently while leading the Bulls in scoring, along with his usual solid defense and 6-7 rebounds and 3 assists. Lets he will keep looking this good for a couple of weeks so his value will rise!

    On a side note, it is nice to see Snell and Teague finally getting some playing time.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    *Lets hope he

  • fb_avatar

    The bait is Noah the 7 foot 10 million dollar a year Galute, He can't shot He can defend anyone and he is over paid Get whatever you can for Bam Bam .

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