What’re the Bulls doing, and where are they headed as a franchise are two huge questions looming around the city’s professional sports teams. Chicago around this time five years ago was a destination to be sought, now with a diminished Derrick Rose and potential opt out by Pau the landscape doesn’t look so good going forward. Pau wasn’t moved at the deadline on Thursday, and Gar Forman said he saw Gasol as a long term building block and someone who was a part of the future. The only person that should be apart of this team long term is Jimmy Butler, and things need to be done to build around him. The Bulls additionally have Noah’s contract coming off the books at a salary of $13.4 million.
Derrick Rose is starting to scratch the surface to what he once was, but in terms of him ever going back to his MVP stats that’s not likely to ever happen. Chicago saw an encouraging game out of Doug McDermott the other night against the Raptors when he had 30 points in 31 minutes. Bobby Portis has also had two double-doubles in his last five games, with his most recent game being a 17pt, seven rebound effort against the Lakers yesterday.
Chicago could have a lot of cap space, but they aren’t likely to garner a top pick because even if they don’t make the playoffs they’ll be a nine or ten seed in the East which does them no good come lottery night. Chicago is an attractive destination because of the ability to play with Butler who is one of the league’s brightest stars in terms of scoring. Bobby Portis appears to be able to fill in for Noah on an offensive level, never in what Noah brought in terms of intangibles and defensive heart.
The Bulls seem stuck in a wave of mediocrity not only because of their team, but because of their conference. The other Eastern Conference powers all have young stars emerging while Chicago has Jimmy Butler who is now being paid like a top tier star. Miami has Whiteside and Winslow, Boston with Crowder and Smart, Toronto Derozan and Lowry.
Even teams that are currently below the Bulls in the standings have a brighter outlook for the next five seasons. Washington and Detroit have some very good young players on their team, and are potentially further ahead than the Bulls in terms team building in the near future. Now despite the current standings, Chicago hasn’t had any good showings in the playoffs apart from the series win last spring. Hoiberg was supposed to come in a play a more offensively conducive style, all the Bulls have on their hands is a fledgling group of players who have no hopes of a championship any time soon. Gar Forman says he’s committed to Gasol, he needs to rethink that stance and hope Gasol opts out allowing Chicago to turn over the roster. Noah and Gasol would clear over $20 million in cap space for the Bulls to entice someone to play with Butler.