WARR contributor Josh Hicks offers his thoughts on the Chicago Bulls and the NBA
When the Chicago Bulls signed hometown superstar Dwyane Wade this past offseason, I figured that this was the change that the Bulls needed: a defending champion with Chicago roots, coming home to help provide mentorship to a descending franchise. However, I’m not so sure that was the right move anymore. And it is not Wade’s fault, but the Bulls themselves.
Wade’s homecoming automatically positioned the Bulls to be a playoff contender this season. But with this regular season winding to its end, Wade’s recent injury acts as the last stop on a nauseating roller coaster ride manned by the franchise’s chemically-inept front office. Chicago’s coaching staff and teammates have been irked and jerked to the point of nausea and all this has led the team to its current standing at tenth in the Eastern Conference standings. Seems like the Bulls still don’t know what its like to profit from a big free agent signing, certainly as big a signing the franchise has had since its six-ring dynasty in the 1990s.
A question we must ask ourselves is with the signing of Wade, was it a bad move or was it a worthy move that just turned for the worst? My belief is that it was a worthy move that took a turn for the worst.
How did the signing take a downward spiral? Wade’s reasoning for coming home was to have the opportunity to play for his hometown team and help mentor a rising star in Jimmy Butler. Wade can possibly brag on his ability to give advice, it seems like his mentee has been taking his advice, averaging a career high 23 points a game this season. Not to mention Wade has not been completely off his game either, averaging 19 points a game to hold up his end of the bargain offensively. So who is to blame for the fiasco within this deal if Wade has been proven innocent? Bulls’ management.
Management has been the primary problem for the Bulls, even dating back to the Thibodeau era. Team president John Paxson and general manager Gar Foreman had their issues about the way Thibs was running his team (even though they consistently made the playoffs and got as far as the Eastern Conference Finals under his leadership), so they shipped him out and brought in a smart, yet unenthusiastic push over in the mostly feckless Fred Hoiberg, fresh off not winning the Big 12 or anything else really as coach of Iowa State.
Hoiberg has already been established as a guy that does not like or condone confrontation and chastisement among his players, but when you bring one of the best shooting guards in league history with an aggressive competitive edge, we can expect some form of frustration to form within the locker room.
Alpha leaders like Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo together in a locker room require the utmost attention and respect. They thrive on chastisement and discipline to help improve the chemistry and strength of the team, very much needed for a young team put in this awkward refinanced position. If they lose respect for their coach, they will show it, and the team will follow, something we have repeatedly seen all season long.
The theme of this latest edition of the Bulls has been dysfunction, and it is something that was brought to Wade, not something Wade brought to them. Wade came to bring precision and toughness and hard-earned experience, things that could guide the Bulls back to the culture of winning.
But in response the Bulls did not give their precious hometown hero signing the proper talent and tools to build on that movement and have proven that they are not prepared for his championship-minded leadership. Wade’s time was wasted, he knows it, and it is the best reason why we have probably seen Wade’s last moments in a Chicago Bulls uniform.
Joshua M. Hicks is a sports writer and broadcaster and a recent graduate of Roosevelt University, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042