Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf was a guest on ESPN 1000’s “Talking Baseball” on Saturday.
Naturally, he had a few things to say about the team:
On Derrick Rose’s recovery:
“I’m not going to let him back until the doctors tell me that it’s absolutely safe for him to come back. I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have. This time I’m not going to make that mistake. Until the doctors say he’s 100 percent and they put their reputations on the line, he’s not coming back.
“The doctors told us that it would be eight to 12 months from the time of the surgery. Surgery was the middle of May. That means the earliest possible time he’ll be back would be the middle of January. If it’s 12 months, then he’ll miss the whole season. We just don’t know. The reports are very good. They say he’s ahead of schedule. He’s doing all the rehabbing he’s got to do. We’ll see. In the meantime, I think we’re going to have a pretty decent club.”
My take: When Michael Jordan was rehabbing from a broken foot back in 1986, Reinsdorf wanted to protect his investment. Jordan wanted to play. This led to a pretty public feud. In the end, MJ returned to action sooner than Reinsdorf wanted, and that has apparently always bugged Reinsdorf. It seems he wants to take more control in Rose’s case. So no matter how well Rose’s rehab is going, Bulls fans shouldn’t bother hoping for an early return. If anything, it’s more likely he’ll return later than the most optimistic predictions.
On rebuilding the bench:
“(General manager) Gar Forman has done a great job of turning over the bench. We lost most of our so-called ‘Bench Mob.’ But if you look at the numbers, the bench actually has the potential to be more productive than the old guys.
“We still have Joakim (Noah) and Luol (Deng) and Taj (Gibson) and Carlos (Boozer). I think we’re going to be a pretty decent team without Derrick. Will we win a championship? I doubt that very seriously, but if we can hang in there and get to the playoffs and if Derrick comes back, who knows? We might be there at the end.”
My take: I take exception to the word “lost” considering the players in question were either traded away or allowed to walk. Okay, not matching Omer Asik’s $25 million offer sheet with the Rockets was the right move, but discarding C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer (who accepted minimum contracts to play elsewhere) seemed a little rough.
I also don’t like the way he referred to the Bench Mob as “so-called.” It just feels…demeaning somehow. The contributions from those reserves were a big reason the Bulls were able to compile the league’s best record two seasons in a row. Perhaps Reinsdorf is feeling a bit defiant about all the criticism he’s taken for not putting a higher value on what those guys did for the team (and, indeed, many bloggers and experts have repeatedly used the term “cheap” when describing Reinsdorf’s stewardship of the Bulls).
As for “the numbers,” this isn’t the first I’ve heard about how the team used various advanced metrics to select “efficient and cost effective” alternatives to the bench players who are now gone. That’s all good and well. But we’ll see if they new guys fit, and whether they can match the chemistry and enthusiasm of the old Bench Mob.