It seems that every time we see the green flag go up, the Bulls are sitting at the starting line waiting for a different shade. Forest? (They are completely lost without hope of rescue?) Hooker? (Named for the botanist, not the color of money changing hands.) Emerald? (Sort of like they are looking for a diamond in the rough, just not quite as precious?)
Personally, I think they’re waiting for shade of Asparagus because something stinks.
Not only is the Bulls' front office seemingly stuck in neutral, but available free agents seem to be shunning us—the latest being OJ Mayo.
I believe there are two reasons why the Bulls have made no significant changes this offseason. The first being the myriad of questions surrounding the Bulls for the upcoming season.
1) Will Derrick Rose be healthy enough to play? We are hearing that he’s ahead of schedule. Whatever. A knee injury is a knee injury even for someone who we all sort of view as a super hero. To get back to where he was will take time. It will take courage to trust the knee. This doesn’t happen overnight.
2) How bad is Joakim Noah’s ankle? He’s out of the Olympics. His ankle is still so bad that here we are two and a half months later and he cannot join the French team. If you said you saw this coming, you’re lying. This is not a good sign for the Bulls. How bad is the ankle? How bad are the ligaments? When a sprain of this magnitude happens, the ankle can be forever weakened without surgery. Will he be ready to start the season on time?
3) Will Boozer be Amnestied? (I for one don’t believe he should and I think he’s gotten an unfairly bad rap for his time in Chicago.)
The other reason the Bulls have made no significant changes is geography. They play in the Eastern Conference. The Eastern Conference is exponentially loaded with greater talent from top to bottom. It will be a far harder task to get to the Finals out of the East than it will be out of the West.
The Celtics are still the Celtics. They have a very good coach and with Kevin Garnett resigned, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry now in the fold along with Rajon Rondo the most underrated player in the NBA, they are a very real threat.
The Brooklyn Nets are quietly—okay, not so quietly—putting together a very good team. Deron Williams is a great player. Brook Lopez is solid as is Kris Humphries. Leave the Kim Kardashian crap out of it. Humphries averaged 14 points and 11 rbs last year. If they get Dwight Howard? This team is as good as any in the NBA. With Williams, they have their fearless leader, someone for Dwight to follow to take his cues from.
The Knicks are dangerous. We can make all the jokes we want about their propensity to ineptness, but they are a good team. With Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamire, Tyson Chandler, JR Smith and Marcus Campy this team has the potential to make serious noise. If Iman Shumpert continues to expand his game and Raymond Felton doesn’t forget how to feed the post, they’ll be right there in the playoffs.
I don’t believe the Knicks are going to match the contract for Jeremy Lin. This is a good move. You can’t give a guy $28 million based on 25 games. He’s a great story, but he’s not this kind of money good. It’s a rare good money decision from the Knicks.
That’s four teams the Bulls have to get past to make it to the Finals. That is a rough playoff road. The free agents who want to win a Championship see this too. Why go to the Bulls when you can go to the Mavericks? The Western Conference is far weaker than the East.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a great, young team. As long as they stay together they’ll be a force to reckoned with.
The San Antonio Spurs completely defied expectations with their April May run last year. But they are a year older. Duncan is 36 years old. Ginobili will be 35 years old next week, Tony Parker is 30 years old. They don’t have too many good years left. They are woefully thin outside of these guys.
The Lakers are better. They’re also older. Nash is one of the hardest working guys in the NBA. I’m a big fan. But, he’s also 38 years old. Kobe is 34 years old. Both have played for 16 seasons. That’s a lot of wear and tear on a body. Will Pau Gasol even be a Laker next year? He’s a soft 32.
Metta World Peace? Please.
People are going to bring up the Clippers. Please don’t. They have Chris Paul and a completely one dimensional Blake Griffin. Chauncey Billups is old and coming off a bad injury. They just signed Jamal Crawford. As a Bulls fan, I cried tears of joy when I saw this. I heard the Bulls could be in the market for his services—been there done that. We don’t need a guy to hog the ball and shoot 38 percent.
So, basically, the free agents this summer are seeing a Bulls team full of questions playing in the far superior league.
These guys want to win. It’s not about the journey or the challenge anymore, it’s about the jewelry. Get it anyway you can. See LeBron “taking his talents to South Beach” or Ray Allen slinking out of Beantown to join the hated Heat so he has a better shot at another ring.
Until the Bulls get answers to the upcoming season’s questions, they are going to sign Michael Redd. Low risk, high reward. If he excels this year, they’ll have him in the fold for 2014 when Rose is truly back, Noah isn’t limping and Boozer is amnestied.
Plus, he’s one of the few who will sign with the Bulls and to see the challenge of the Eastern Conference and embrace it. He’s a guy that appreciates the opportunity he has to be back playing in the NBA.
Suddenly, I’m liking this more and more.