As if being stuck at slightly above mediocre for the past few years was not frustrating enough, the Bulls appeared to get a major wakeup call in 2015-16; Chicago missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, signaling it was time for change.
They got it, too. The team said goodbye to Derrick Rose, a guy who had basically become the face of their franchise, alongside Joakim Noah, second in-command. And for the first time, the Bulls managed to attract top free agents in Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade.
And worse yet, there is similarly no vision as to what it is that they want.
Even signing Rondo and Wade, though impressive, did not fit the “younger and more athletic” blueprint they presented. At 31 and 35, both stars may still possess plenty of talent, but their best days are certainly behind them.
So as they struggled through the season, the questions began: Are the Bulls trying to become a superteam, with the Three Alphas as the building blocks?
Are they going to rebuild, signing veterans to help shape youth down the line?
Are they going to try and make a push for the playoffs?
No, fans still have not received any answers.
Between the confusion of whether or not Chicago was looking to build around Jimmy Butler, the trade they orchestrated at the deadline, even Hoiberg’s ever-changing rotations … nothing is clear.
That includes whether the Bulls are even looking to make the playoffs.
However, Rondo may have just shed some light on the topic.
“My perspective on things [has changed], I would love to be part of a winning tradition or winning culture. I thought I was going to get that here. The people up top are going in a different direction as far as experimenting. It [stinks] when you have the opportunity to make the playoffs and they want to go a different route.”
As in, the organization wants to tank?
Chicago has definitely had a lackluster 2016-17. If the postseason started today, they would not be competing for a title.
But they certainly would be going about tanking in a very non-conventional manner. Making Butler their priority and signing two big-name free agents is not generally how a franchise goes about the whole “trust the process” mentality.
Besides, the team has enough issues organically without needing to try.
Still, these are the Bulls, so nothing is impossible.
Maybe the organization has been looking to rebuild all along. Or maybe they switched their mindset halfway through the season.
Or maybe they really are just as dysfunctional as they seem.