Look no further than the 2016 trade deadline in which they could not move Pau Gasol, a 35 year old player who admittedly wants to “opt out” after the season. If you need more, keep reading.
I wrote about how Fred Hoiberg should be John Paxson’s last hire. So far, the season is a disaster. I can’t blame all of it on the head coach, he’s playing with a bad team. The same team Tom Thibodeau took into the playoffs. OK, so that’s not that big of a feat. Until you look at what the Bulls are doing this year: they might not make the playoffs.
Then you have to take a look at the Bulls drafting over the years. Sure they got some nice players, but you need more than nice players to win an NBA championship. You need a couple great players. They had one in Derrick Rose before he injured both knees.
There is the stigma that no big name players will come to Chicago. Call it the curse of MJ. Call it whatever you want. The fact is, every major free agent the Bulls have wanted to sign has used the organization to get more money from another team. Dwayne Wade, Lebron, last year it was Carmello Anthony. It forced them to make bad deals with average or better players like Carlos Boozer, who they used their one-time amnesty on.
Jerry Krause famously said that, “Organizations win championships”. This is true, but organizations can lose them too. They can also stagnate. All teams go through it. The Blackhawks rebuilt theirs after Bill Wirtz passed away. Rocky Wirtz took over and got brought some really good people aboard. It’s now a perennial championship contender. The Cubs did the same thing when they brought in Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
It’s clear to me that this must be done for the Bulls or they will continue to wallow in mediocrity–or worse. I don’t know what they can do with Derrick Rose. Keep him? I don’t think they can trade him. Pay him to go away?
On Thursday, Gar Forman was interviewed on 670am WSCR, and revealed some interesting “nuggets of information”. Including his plan to bring back 35 year old Pau Gasol, who openly has mentioned he wants to opt out of his current contract. Gasol is set to make about $7 million in 2016-17. First of all, I wouldn’t bring him back at his current salary, I sure wouldn’t bring him back at anything more. This typifies the disconnect fans are frustrated with.
I like John Paxson as a man, and a former player. He is a professional. He has drafted some high quality individuals. The Bulls have had some bad luck, but they need to change the culture of the whole organization and it starts and ends with Paxson and Forman.