8:32 AM CDT, July 11, 2012
On the Wednesday that many NBA rumors can become fact, the Bulls appear to be breaking up their beloved “Bench Mob.’’
That is not a good thing with the way this team is constructed.
But you know what? I have no problem making the “Bench Mob’’ weaker if management could make the starting lineup better.
But no. That does not seem to be the plan. C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer will go as Kirk Hinrich shows up. Omer Asik should be gone because the Rockets need to be drug-tested. A decision on Kyle Korver is due this weekend.
I know those issues have to be dealt with, but they’re small and myopic when the plan ought to be bigger and bolder. Look, today and the days that follow aren’t about this contract or that contract. Bulls management faces a decision amid a broken-down team, a decision that will define its vision for the next couple seasons.
Derrick Rose is hurt and likely won’t be back until the spring. Luol Deng is hurt and might need surgery, which would take him out of the first two months of next season. Joakim Noah reportedly has issues recovering from the ugly ankle injury he suffered in last season’s playoffs, which is part of the reason the Bulls might match Houston’s offer sheet, which would be evidence that the Rockets did not bogart that joint, my friend.
Oh, and don’t forget that the Bulls have trouble keeping their $75 million power forward on the floor in the fourth quarter, which reminds me, how long before Stephen Colbert’s “Word of the Day’’ is “amnesty’’?
And you’re worried about the bench?
There seems to be no better time to blow up the core, but there is no indication the Bulls have the stomach or desire for such an undertaking. The self-deluding Bulls sound as if they’ll go with what they know: retaining familiar players and praying they’ll vault back to being the team that toyed with everyone’s hopes.
That approach didn’t win a title when those guys were healthy, so how does that figure to work out when the Bulls’ best players are fresh off crutches?
I’ll hang up and listen for my hummena-hummena-hummena.
Other teams are making dramatic moves, or at least trying to. Brooklyn is trying to involve about 25 teams in a deal to get Dwight Howard after bringing back Deron Williams and working a sign-and-trade for Joe Johnson. It’s not as good Miami’s “Big Three,’’ but it would be more potent than the Bulls’ “Big Injured.’’
The Howard deal might never happen, but it seems to be the latest example of the way unfinished teams such as the Bulls must go big or stay home. Stars win titles these days. That’s plural: stars. The Bulls have one, and Rose is hurt.
Perhaps the reason that Bulls wonks play it frustratingly safe is because they haven’t shown the ability to attract and sign superstars. Maybe they couldn’t do anything about the Dwyane Wade-LeBron James-Chris Bosh conspiracy that brewed for two years, but the fact remains that Bulls management has failed to get Rose any legitimate big-name help.
And remember, the only reason they have the problem of surrounding Rose is the result of some of the dumbest lottery luck, not because of some swift, smart management maneuvering.
Some teams can bring in superstars. The Bulls’ plan appears to consist of hoping that Rose comes back like Rose next spring and the Bulls magically become the team that no one wants to play in the playoffs.
If that in fact is the plan, it’s a stupid plan. It’s not so much a plan as a prayer.
One more thing: Ask around and you’ll find that Miami is the team no one wants to play.
Perhaps Bulls management has kept a secret and will spring a surprise. Hope so. But if not, it appears the Bulls again will learn the hard lesson that multiple stars win playoff series, not depth.
I don’t know what Rose will look like when he comes back. I only hope he has at least one superstar to play with. Otherwise, the Bulls’ “Big Three’’ will remain Rose, Not Enough and Yeesh.
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