Following a disappointing first-round exit and another disastrous season, it’s time for owner Jerry Reinsdorf to save the Chicago Bulls.
Throughout his time as owner of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf has taken something of a hands-off approach. He’s stepped in when he’s needed to, but even during the 1990s, when the front office pushed then six-time NBA champion Phil Jackson out as head coach, the leash has been loose.
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Following another disastrous season under the current regime, it’s time for Reinsdorf to step in and save his organization.
In the first year of the post-Rose era, the Bulls finished the 2016-17 NBA regular season at 41-41. At no point in time was Chicago more than four games above .500, and the last time it achieved that feat was when it was 11-7 on Dec. 2.
It proceeded to go 30-34 the rest of the way, thus stumbling into the playoffs at the behest of an Eastern Conference that allowed four teams to make the playoffs with 43 or fewer victories.
This marked the second consecutive season that Chicago has won 42 or less games, which is a microcosm of what’s gone wrong. Long heralded as one of the toughest teams in the NBA, Chicago has fallen from grace.
Whether fair or foul, it’s time that the finger is pointed at the front office.
John Paxson, Gar Forman and the front office can’t seem to decide whether they want to hit the reset button or win now. Between sabotaging Tom Thibodeau’s attempts to win without Derrick Rose and making questionable investments in aging veterans, the front office has simply failed.
That all came to a head when Thibodeau was fired after leading Chicago to five consecutive postseason appearances and three series victories.
In his place, the front office hired Fred Hoiberg in a set of circumstances that were eerily reminiscent of what transpired under Jerry Krause. Much like Tim Floyd was Jackson’s rumored replacement while Jackson was still coaching, Hoiberg was linked to Chicago while Thibodaeu was still in charge.
Just as Floyd failed to fill Jackson’s shoes, Hoiberg has come up short in his attempts to justify the decision to replace Thibodeau.
The remnants of the Thibodeau era never seemed to buy what Hoiberg was selling. Hoiberg and Jimmy Butler never seemed to click, with the franchise player going as far as telling the head honcho to coach him harder.
The fact that new arrival Dwyane Wade seemingly felt the same way either proves the coach can’t hold this locker room or that the front office isn’t picking the right players.
One way or another, it’s time for Reinsdorf to step in and save his organization from drowning in obscurity. The front office appeared to have its heart set on a rebuild after Rose was injured, yet it’s done little to support Jimmy Butler’s win-now timeline.
It can’t possibly sit well with the prideful owner that his organization, which dominated a full decade in the 1990s, is now closer to irrelevancy than it is a championship.