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The Chicago Bulls: When money out-ranks winning

Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler is the best player on his team. (Photo: AAP)
Roar Guru
11th February, 2017
11

Since the Chicago Bulls drafted Derrick Rose back in 2008, they made the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, before finishing ninth last season under the guidance of first year head coach Fred Hoiberg.

The roster that was assembled around Derrick Rose was good, but was missing a shooting guard to take the team to the highest level.

The hiring of coach Tom Thibodeau in 2010 kept Chicago at or near the top of the eastern conference for years to come. A team of defensive-minded players with 2011 MVP Derrick Rose made enough noise to be considered championship contenders on several occasions.

After Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng all suffered career-changing injuries, the incompetence of the Bulls’ front office came to the fore.

It had been well documented that Coach Thibodeau and the front office were at a disagreement, with Gar Forman and John Paxson controlling who’s on the roster, who is drafted and who plays in the starting line-up. And while Tom Thibodeau was the only thing keeping the franchise afloat, Forman and Paxson fired him to hire a younger, inexperienced coach with the promise of an up-tempo offense and greater team chemistry.

The only problem was that Coach Hoiberg’s system needs three point shooting and athletic players, and Forman and Paxson recruited Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. They are both high profile veterans that are slow and shoot a low percentage.

This was purely a business decision.

After the team’s struggles in the previous season, fans were becoming uninterested in the same regime, so by bringing in Chicago-native Wade and former all-star Rondo to team up with Jimmy Butler, the team was destined to sell tickets. Which it has.

But the Bulls have very few, possibly no, young assets, and are not primed to win a championship in the next two or three years.

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So what direction are they headed in? Years of finishing in the middle of the eastern conference and getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs if they are lucky to get that far. But as long as they are selling tickets and making money, Jerry Reinsdorf, Gar Forman and John Paxson are happy.

Bulls fans are getting frustrated that management does not care about wins. So much so that they have organised a protest in early March when Chicago play the L.A Clippers at home. A petition has been made on change.org, and fans are voicing their displeasures on all forms of social media.

Beyond that, there is a rift in the locker room between the young players and the veterans, and the head coach and the veterans. While the logical outcome for the team’s struggles would be to fire Hoiberg and start a-fresh, that will not be happening due to the length of the deal he signed.

So as front office take advantage of one of the most loyal fan-bases in sport, the Chicago Bulls continue to spiral in the wrong direction. And with an owner ignorant of what needs to be done, and a front office who couldn’t run the local B team, times do not seem to be changing any time soon for the Chicago Bulls.