Photo cred: Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports
As a Bulls fan, the recent ineptitude of this front office has been demoralizing to watch from start to finish. 2016-17 has been the epitome of our beloved organization’s lack of a direction and growing dysfunction on all levels has us on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. You have to feel for Jimmy Butler, our team’s star, who’s sitting through yet another prime wasting season where fighting for the 8th seed has become the norm. So with the league being more sink or swim than ever, I am not surprised by the reports that Butler’s time in the Windy City is coming to an end. I was slowly accepting the possibility of it occuring during last seasons NBA Draft (THANK GOD we didn’t trade him for Kris Dunn…). We need to make a change and that’ll hopefully happen this summer once the draft lottery plays out. We have been turning the wheels on this train wreck for far too long and unfortunately, Jimmy’s the only trade chip we have as we’re nearing this inevitable rebuilding phase.
One simply has to look at the product that was thrown together and ask themselves “what the fuck could I really expect out of this team?” In all actuality, I knew from the jump we were not a team built for much postseason success at all. You can’t win in today’s NBA without balance, and for the Bulls, we’re steadily becoming an average team, lacking the increasingly important ability to shoot from 3 along with the inability to put an effective supporting cast together. Coming into this past offseason, we were told that the biggest concerns that we’ve had FOR YEARS were a high priority and would be addressed. Those issues consisted of a necessity to develop our youth, fill the voids left by the departure of both Rose and Noah, acquire a go to scorer and lastly, sign supporting shooters for consistent spacing.
So what did the Bulls do? Well, they basically pissed on our heads as fans and told us it was rain by going out and signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade’s old asses and collectively yelling “SIKE” in the our faces on most other problems. Wade coming home to Chicago was a big deal obviously due to his status as an eventual Hall of Famer as well as being a name that simply puts asses in the seats. Regardless of this, let’s not negate the fact that Wade we signed a 35 year old, clearly on the decline with durability issues. Rondo’s signing was one that just smelled of trouble to anyone that had half a wit. We weren’t getting Rondo, the Celtics hero: the floor general that I’ll forever remember as the glue guy behind that 2007-08 Boston Celtics Championship squad. Nononono… We got the Rondo that’s been scavenging the league as of late (and will be on to his next victim after this season). The reported locker room cancer, the guy that’s been on 3 different teams in as many years. The guy that plays no defense, shoots poorly and only cares about padding his assist numbers by dribbling out the clock. We saw him give up on Dallas in front of Dirk alongside a great coach in Rick Carlisle. We also saw him lead an exceptionally dysfunctional Sacramento Kings team (what else is new) last season. With all of that in mind, the common theme here is that it simply made no sense to go out and make these moves for players that are fighting against father time while also not possessing styles which could complement Butler’s game. Add to this the level of fucking drama that this team has encountered this season and we look like even more of a joke. The writing was on the wall that the actions of Gar-Pax were out of either sheer competitive desperation or an equally likely feeling of being out of touch with the times. One guy can win you a game here and there, but it takes a team with cohesive chemistry to make that leap to championship contention.
So what do we do now? Tear the franchise apart and start the fuck over, top to bottom. Gar Forman and John Paxon need to be removed from their front office positions. The fans have been calling for it with team owner Reinsdorf previously not really giving much of a shit. I would say that this season however has made a strong case of why it is time for the organization to wipe their hands clean of this ineptitude. We used to be a perennial top seed in the East, but those days are long gone. The players who’ve embodied the dynasty that never came to fruition are all now on other teams, and Butler should be joining that list soon. Do we bring in a guy like Hinkie as a ‘sexy’ GM whose drawn out, methodical process has actually revitalized Philadelphia’s future? That’s a hard ask of fans of a team accustomed to winning, but you can’t argue with the long term results there. Do we fire Hoiberg in hopes of bringing in a personality that can actually command respect from his players as well as lead them to winning season? Yes, I think its time to call the Hoiberg experiment a failure. He’s 2 years in and arguably didn’t have the tools required to make his system work, but he’s shown himself to not be cut out for the job nevertheless.
In terms of future decision making, let’s let the lottery play out and go after the coveted Nets’ picks that the Celtics have been dangling as trade bait over our heads for years. I understand the necessity to wait until the #1 pick in this year’s draft is a sure thing, but I hope that our patience doesn’t come at the expense of any leverage that we had earlier this season. It’s a huge difference if Butler himself is a disgruntled player on a team that can’t even make the players and if I recall correctly, the Celtics were willing to part ways with multiple picks along with serviceable players to make the deal happen. Also, hopefully Demarcus Cousins’ recent blockbuster trade to the Pelicans for a bag of balls doesn’t drive down the trade value league wide as well. If we pull it off, we gotta go with Markelle Fultz with that top pick. I love Lonzo Ball’s ability as a true point guard and he certainly has the tools to make a team better, but we just don’t have much of a supporting cast to really highlight his strengths at all. With Fultz, we will be getting a high usage, primary option on offense who while the team will suffer initially record wise, will allow him to grow through his lumps into the almost surefire superstar that he’s capable of becoming. I see him as a taller Damian Lilliard with potential to be better on the defensive end (hopefully). You can’t pass up a guy like this if he’s available. With our 14th pick, I am hoping that we’ll be in play for either Justin Jackson of UNC or Miles Bridges out of MSU. Two wings that are dynamic in their ability to stretch the floor exceptionally well and provide some relief in our efforts to replace Butler. Defensively, we’re going to have to make some major adjustments, but free agency when done right can do a bang up job of filling a need. In closing, we’re a team without an identity and the only thing left to do is to start over. I’d rather be closer to being the Timberwolves than the Knicks any day of the week.
I love this game,