With six Bulls championships and another from the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf has unquestionably been the most successful owner in the long and somewhat maligned history of Chicago sports. The man has been known to spend extravagantly, most notably when he was writing blank checks to Michael Jordan during his final two seasons with the Bulls. Even this year's thoroughly underwhelming White Sox club spent big, and they have the advertising slogan to remind you of it at every turn.
Let's not pretend this is an owner who consistently values product over profit, though. Reinsdorf's spending habits often appear to be uneven, at best. Take the last decade-or-so of team salaries from the Bulls. While Chicago continued to rake in as much money as any team in basketball during the post-MJ days, their budget -- and, not coincidentally, record -- was often at the bottom of the league. To this cynical blogger, the answer appears clear: always known to wear his baseball love on his sleeve, Reinsdorf has spent his Bulls money on the Sox. Perhaps it's not that simple, though. JR has defended himself through the years by saying he would finally pay the NBA's luxury tax once the Bulls became a title contender. By reaching the final four this season, it's safe to say they've officially hit that point.
So now Uncle Jerry is going to open up the checkbook to bring in the expensive talent the Bulls need to take the next step forward, right? Well, not so fast.
The NBA Draft is looming next week, and even with a historically weak class on the horizon, the Draft is as good a time as any to wheel and deal. With two late first round picks and a bit of young bench talent, it would appear the Bulls are in decent position to do just that. ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell says don't be expecting a move for Andre Iguodala or Monte Ellis, though.
It's doubtful the Bulls will make a major move on draft night. The last thing they want to do is add another high-salaried player because of the uncertainty of the impending lockout and new collective bargaining agreement.
Depending on how seriously you want to start thinking about next season already -- sorry, my Big Three flesh wounds remain unhealed -- this little tidbit of information could be enough to get Bulls fans to start bitchin' and moaning. While I'll eventually jump on the B&M bandwagon with two feet -- and trust me, you'll be able to find out here when it happens -- it's still a little too early to get my pessimism juices flowing.
The CBA uncertainty is nothing to scoff at, either. Until we ****know the rules****, isn't it a bit foolish to start speculating on player movement for 2011-2012?
Meh, maybe not. Kelly Dwyer is the editor of Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie and one of the brightest basketball minds around. He's also an unabashed Bulls fan. Dwyer is taking this latest bit of news pretty hard.
But just beware, Bulls fans. This is a team that will choose to keep their payroll manageable not because they want flexibility in basketball terms moving forward, but because they want to remain a profitable or near-profitable franchise. Mainly because Bulls fans proved, in the miserable years following the end of the championship runs, that the support will be there regardless of high payrolls and/or winning records. Such is the price, so to speak, for intense devotion. Silly us.
I love Dwyer -- I'll never be as good of a writer or as basketball smart -- but this paragraph reeks of Cub-dom.
"Stay away until ownership is fully ready to commit!"
Maybe in a utopia, sure, but we're no where close to that. Innocent bros are gettin' jumped on the safe side of the city, unemployment remains high, and, most importantly (MOST IMPORTANTLY), our "All In" baseball teams continue to flounder. We need sports -- need to watch, need to attend -- even if it's only to momentarily distract from the rest of the garbage the living universe continues to pile on-top of us.
A little preachy? Yeah, probably. I'll stop. But until the CBA is settled, and until it looks certain the Bulls won't be going for a big addition this off-season, I'll still give them my full attention.