The current NBA season started out with so much hope in Chicago. The return of Derrick Rose was on the horizon, and the Bulls were considered by many to be one of the two teams in the Eastern Conference who could dethrone the current two-time champs Miami Heat.
Rose was starting to come out of a shooting slump when suddenly everything changed. A torn meniscus suffered in Portland cost him the season. It appeared to do the same to the Bulls.
The Bulls have hovered around the eighth seed, struggling on offense without their leader.
The question has been made in light of the team’s struggles-should they just tank the season?
It is not in coach Tom Thibodeau’s DNA to tank. He will play with who he has and have them play as hard as possible. Players like Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are tough, hard-nosed players who will not give up anything, no matter the odds.
It appears, however, that the Bulls’ front office has taken the choice away from the players. They are making roster moves that might ensure no matter how hard the players play, a playoff shot will be a longshot.
On Monday, the Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and three draft picks. On Tuesday afternoon, the Bulls turned around and released Bynum.
Recent reports have the Bulls mulling over using the amnesty option on the contract of Carlos Boozer sooner rather than later, not waiting for the end of the season to do so. Also, shooter Mike Dunleavy Jr, who has been playing well as of late, is reportedly going to be moved by the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
As hard as the current roster plays, and as hard as Thibodeau runs them, it probably will not make a difference in the record. The front office appears to be all in on picking up some of the talented free agents that will be available this summer, and have a shot at having a shot at some of the top choices in the upcoming draft, considered by many to possibly be one of the best draft classes in recent memory.
This is not a bad thing. The Bulls saved over $20 million in the deal they just made. Parting ways with Boozer and Dunleavy will save another $20 million. This keeps the Bulls under the luxury tax, and gives the team a great deal of flexibility.
The recent moves are just the beginning and the near future will smell like roses. We just have to survive this stinker of a season until then.