Last off-season was one Bulls fans will not forget for a long time. Not long after trading hometown hero Derrick Rose, management appeared to have a plan.
Younger, more athletic. It appeared the Bulls were prepared to provide coach Fred Hoiberg with the kind of roster that fit his style of coaching. We all know what happened next: Two aging veterans that contradict the spacing approach that dominates todays NBA.
As the team inexcusably gave up in game 6 of the first round, the United Center roared with chants of “Fire Hoiberg.” While fans frustration is warranted, it should not be directed at the head coach.
Yes, he needs to be more consistent in rotations. He also needs to learn how to handle the personalities of the game better. One thing he has not been able to help is the roster he was given. Coming in after Thibodeau was fired would already be hard enough on any coach. To then be given a roster that Thibs would enjoy and you have to change for? It was just wrong.
While addressing the media at the conclusion of the season, John Paxson and Gar Forman threw the coach under the bus while explaining he will be returning. They talked about the commitment they made, and criticized his leadership abilities.
Hardly a ringing endorsement of the head coach. It sounds more like they don’t want to eat his contract yet, so will let him carry on until they are ready to have another head coach on the payroll.
Chatter in Chicago has grown steadily over the last few years about the front office and need for change. This year was the perfect time to bring in new faces to make personnel decisions.
The collective thought of fans is simple, Butler won’t get traded and the team won’t move far enough up or down the standings to truly matter. Another mid round pick does nothing for this roster.
Does this regime have what it takes to make the bold move? They haven’t shown it yet. The only time we could say they have done so is in firing Thibs, which most fans would love to take back and instead leave the front office behind.
A new face at the helm could make moving on from Butler possible. Even if Forman and Paxson did intend to move him, does anybody trust what they would get? It seems more then likely they would not value the modern day players who spread the floor like any other team would.
Could they make the bold move of calling a team like Denver and gathering multiple young players and potentially picks? Doubtful. All signs are pointing towards another year of moving a few pieces around here and there, only to not improve the team in any way.
Bobby Portis has shown glimpses of becoming a contributor. Cameron Payne looked awful in his short time not wearing a suit on the sideline. Valentine had a couple of moments, but will only be able to reach the level of role player. The truth is simple; this roster has no identity.
The hardest part of it all may be that Hoiberg will likely take the blame for the poor performance of a lackluster roster, allowing the front office to return and use him as the scapegoat.
Don’t look now Bulls fans, the troubles are already brewing once again.