These days it’s tough to be a Chicago Bulls fan. I mean really tough.
The days of Marcus Fizer, Dickey Simpkins, Mark Bryant, Matt Maloney, Khalid Reeves, Michael Ruffin and Khalid El-Amin are gone. From 1998-2004, the Bulls were 119-341, with 5 straight seasons of 50 or more losses and went through coaches like Tim Floyd, Bill Cartwright, Bill Berry and Pete Myers. Yes, the Jordan replacement…PETE MYERS! YIKES! But after clever drafting and added some key veterans, the Bulls became playoff contenders again. In the last 10 seasons, they enjoyed their finest season during the 2010-2011 season when they went 62-20 and Derrick Rose was named MVP. It looked like the Bulls would be CHAMPIONSHIP contenders, then…Rose gets injured in the 1st round of the following season’s playoffs and it went downhill from there. He didn’t play the following season after much controversy and distraction about his injury status, yet the team was able to make the playoffs only to get bounced by the eventual champion Miami Heat in the second round.
This season…PURE HELL. PURE H-E-L-L.
Not even a full two months have gone by and several Bulls players have been injured, including Rose (who’s out for the season again) and my “favorite player” to hate Carlos Boozer. Yes, him. The hate for LeBron has ceased. Not only that, the recent trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum and draft picks. Bynum will never get to see a minute in a Bulls uniform because he was waived in under 24 hours. Just trying to get the room for cap space and lure a potential free agent, maybe a Carmelo Anthony, LeBron or a Kevin Love. Now, Love would be an awesome addition in Chicago, it would get him a chance at actually being on a playoff team…which he has yet to see in his (now) 6 seasons in Minnesota. Another funny possibility would be Blake Griffin. This is a business. Loyalty is so gone. That’s why I respect Timmy D and Kobe.
But back to the subject at hand…freeing of cap space to lock in a key free agent…the Bulls did that so well back in the 2010 free agent sweepstakes. It was so well that they went and got…Carlos Boozer. Yes, Carlos Boozer. He was the guy that was mentioned earlier in this blog. The Bulls couldn’t nab LeBron, they couldn’t get Dwyane Wade…the hometown guy, Chris Bosh or even Amar’e Stoudemire, not to mention Rudy Gay or David Lee. They got Boozer for 5 seasons, $75 million. The Sporting News couldn’t have said this any better, “Boozer, who has performed well below his deal for years, is set to make $16.8 million next season and does not fit the Bulls’ defensive approach, which has led him to spend time on the bench in clutch moments.” This was a guy who was an all-star with the Utah Jazz and averaged 20 points and right at 10 rebounds a game, and never looked like the same player back in Utah. His defense was just horrendous. Allowing smaller players, other power forwards, even slower players to outplay him. Not to mention the numbers are atrocious. This man TRICKED John Paxson, Gar Forman and Jerry Reinsdorf. Where is Jerry Krause when you need him? I see why they put the amnesty clause on him. No way you put that salary on this team.
As a Bulls fan, I can stomach this season. But I can’t say the same for the crowds that once sold out the United Center. For right now, those are gone. Yet, they have great young talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Rookie Tony Snell is starting to get more in to the mix off the bench and hopefully Mike Dunleavy can fill the void that Kyle Korver left. Korver doesn’t fit the Thibodeau book of defense. But that efficient shooting is missed greatly. Didn’t necessarily get a good upgrade in Dunleavy. He’s decent but not a plus. At this rate, it looks like the Bulls are going to be revamped in a similar fashion the way the Portland Trailblazers and Golden State Warriors have done to get back into the playoff mix. If the Bulls don’t make the playoffs it won’t be a surprise. This team looked doomed after the Rose injury. The biggest questions will be…Can D. Rose be a solid player again? Can the Bulls lure a GOOD free agent? Can they become a contender again? Only time will tell. But for now, Bulls fans, you’ll just have to let this season go. But hey Chicago, we’ll be ready when you are.