The Chicago Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic last night, 83-82. It was yet another in a string of ugly games, as the Bulls offense basically went AWOL once Luol Deng got hurt. He’s back now, but even he can’t save this mess.
Traditionally, there would be a list of things that we learned from the game in this space, but there’s really only one point I want to make here, so we’re scratching the list format.
We’ve now officially reached the point where I can’t deal with this team anymore. In its current form, this team is essentially unwatchable. In lieu of watching the Bulls get slaughtered by the Houston Rockets tomorrow night, I’m going to go watch the DePaul men’s basketball team play something called a Houston Baptist. That should tell you quite a bit about how I feel about the Bulls, given that I haven’t watched a DePaul game in at least five or six years.
There’s been a lot of debate about whether the Bulls should tank this season. The question is actually somewhat more complicated than that, since Tom Thibodeau is not exactly the ideal coach for a tanking team and forcing him to tank by trading his best players — Luol Deng in particular — might well inspire mutiny from a coach who already borderline despises the front office. But something has to give. I don’t know what it is, but it needs to give.
Maybe it’s a trade to legitimately bolster the team. Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors is available and the Bulls desperately need a competent point guard. You think the Bulls couldn’t snag him for Kirk Hinrich and a lightly protected first rounder, given that the New York Knicks nearly got him for Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace and their 2018 first rounder? Lowry’s expiring after the season, and such a trade would allow the front office to finally cut ties with Marquis Teague — something they’ve been trying to do since the beginning of the preseason — in order to match salary.
Or maybe it’s trading Deng. Or Boozer. Or Taj Gibson. Or some combination of those three, or all three of them. I don’t know. But the status quo is intolerable. I’m not willing to put up with another four months of games like we’ve had the last few weeks.
I’m not willing to put up with a team that can only break 80 points in a game because Mike Dunleavy threw in a meaningless heave from halfcourt at the buzzer. I’m not willing to put up with a team that gets blown out by the Raptors and Detroit Pistons, loses to the Knicks even when the Knicks do their level best to hand them the game, and barely beats the Milwaukee Bucks after losing to them three days earlier.
I don’t blame anyone for the current situation. Thibs is doing the best he can with a deeply flawed roster that was supposed to have Derrick Rose anchoring it. Gar Foreman and John Paxson assembled a team that had a legit shot at dethroning the Miami Heat before Rose went down. It’s not their fault Rose got hurt again and has to miss ANOTHER season. It’s not the training staff’s fault that Rose got hurt, and for all the #FredClearedHim jokes I’ve made, they’re not the reason the Bulls are terrible.
Could this have been avoided if the Bulls had kept Nate Robinson? Potentially. But that wasn’t going to happen and everyone who makes this argument knows it wasn’t going to happen. Nate wanted a multi-year deal for real money and the Bulls absolutely were not going to give it to him with Rose coming back and Hinrich making more than $4 million this season.
So where does that leave us? I don’t know. But if somebody doesn’t figure that out soon, I think I’m going to be watching a lot of DePaul basketball these next few months.