Chicago Bulls: Eliminated From The Playoffs, What Comes Next?
The Chicago Bulls have been eliminated from the 2017 NBA Playoffs after being defeated 4-2 in the first round by the Boston Celtics. So what now?
After a strong 2-0 start over the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, the Chicago Bulls completely lost their way. While Rajon Rondo‘s broken thumb and subsequent sidelining was the obvious catalyst, lackluster on-court performances combined with bad coaching certainly did not help matters.
And thus, those two games would be the team’s only postseason victories.
Up 3-2, the Celtics earned themselves another defeat on Friday night, closing out the series 4-2 against the Bulls.
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Now most people had Boston moving on anyways. At the end of the day, “the worst 1-seed” or not, they came into the playoffs at the top of the Eastern Conference. Chicago, on the other hand, barely clinched the eighth spot.
However, allowing the Celtics four straight wins is embarrassing, at best — especially given how well the Bulls began the series.
But what is done is done, with an entire summer ahead for the organization to regroup.
The question of course being, what will come next?
Ideally, the entire front office would be canned. With no direction year after year, general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson have run the franchise into the ground. And if left as they are, will no doubt continue to do so. They have showed no signs of growth recently, instead partaking in deals such as the Taj Gibson trade that make it clear they have no future vision for the team. Nor do they really care what happens to it.
And yes, head coach Fred Hoiberg would be kindly asked to leave as well.
While some have made the argument that Hoiberg was not given the right set of players, his decline from last season proves that no matter the roster, he is not the man for the job. Still stuck in his college ball days, he is inflexible in his offense. Take that on top of his inability to figure out successful rotations and there is not much to praise him for, except perhaps his polite and pleasant demeanor.
Unfortunately, both the duo of Gar/Pax and Hoiberg do not seem to be going anywhere.
Which brings us to the roster itself.
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First, Dwyane Wade will have to decide whether he wants to opt-in to the second year of his deal. Although this would guarantee him around $24 million, he would also have to suffer through another season of Chicago’s management, coaching and beyond, not to mention kiss his dreams of another championship goodbye. But there is no telling how much another team, say the Miami Heat or Cleveland Cavaliers, would be willing to pay the 35-year-old. That may be a good enough reason for him to stick around.
Similarly, Rondo’s future is up in the air. With a 2017-18 team option, it will be interesting to see whether the Bulls finally feel like giving the veteran the respect he deserves. There is no debating that he was the sole reason for Chicago’s 2-0 start versus Boston, and once given a chance, played an impressive level of basketball towards the end of 2016-17 as well.
Then there is Jimmy Butler, who keeps preaching his commitment to the city, but is really the only valuable trade asset the Bulls own. While letting go of a superstar is dicey, the organization does need to make some major moves if it wants any chance at success moving forward. So there is no telling just how long Butler will actually remain in Chicago.
Aside from the Three Alphas, Nikola Mirotic will be a guy to keep an eye on. A restricted free agent this summer, it is up to the team whether or not they want to make him a new offer. If Mirotic is offered a contract from another ball club, the Bulls also have a choice to match that contract sheet.
After a turbulent season, Chicago has a ton of work to do this offseason. However, only time will tell whether anything they do actually helps things for the better.
Time to grab the Bull(s) by the horns. Hang on tight.