This is from this week's Bill Simmons podcast with Marc Stein. They got into some free agent talk, and Stein really hammers the Bulls front office as if it's common knowledge, and the once bullish Simmons agrees. Here's my best transcription:
[getting off a discussion of Cavs failing to blow Bulls out…]
Stein: With Rose and Noah, any free agent has to think, ‘ya know what?’…on one hand, the Bulls are such a dysfunctional mess as an organization, and I put the blame on Reinsdorf. He’s the enabler, the one who keeps Paxson in this role, and it’s just a mess, an absolute mess. So if I’m a free agent, I’m wondering if I want to hitch my ride to a Jerry Reinsdorf operation. But on the flip side, man, Rose and Noah, are pretty enticing.
Simmons: If you’re Wade, and they clean house and fire their coach and GM…
Stein: They won’t. Vinny Del Negro might lose his job, but if Paxson is fired I’ll be shocked.
Simmons: Well they’re idiots…
Stein: Even if Paxson is fired, Reinsdorf is still there. If I’m Wade, I’m not goin: I like Noah, I like Rose, but with the cap space that Miami has I like Pat Riley more.
[nonsense on Phil Jackson returning]
Simmons: Well I think it’s a shame, because I agree with you, the Chicago scenario can’t happen, because anyone (and Dwayne Wade’s wife) will tell him: you don’t want to play for that Organization, it’s too screwed up. But, man…[Go on to praise Rose and especially Noah more]
I think it's clear Simmons doesn't know as much as he pretends to know, but that Stein is so adamant about this was interesting.
And things dont' look any more organized with the Bulls thus far in the offseason. With them pushing back the Del Negro firing into next week, KC Johnson correctly surmises it's making things even weirder:
With Del Negro's highly likely dismissal delayed, players were left in the awkward position of answering whether or not he should be retained. They alternated between showing respect for his positive demeanor to tepid support, delicately walking a fine line.
We already have Rose calling a potential firing 'devastating' (I can only guess such a highly-loaded word is due to lack of vocabulary, what with everything always being 'crazy' to Rose) and Noah following suit in an endorsement.
I don't think these endorsements matter in terms of keeping VDN, especially from these two, given Vinny is pretty much (Noah had a couple months with Skiles) the only NBA coach they've ever had. Their work ethic and humility is well-documented, they'll be fine with any new coach.
But showing such a disconnect (even if perceived more than real) between players and management is just unnecessary. Whether the delay is to make sure the announcement is on a distracted media day (don't think Christmas Eve is an option), working out the finances of the buyout of Vinny's 3rd year, or getting the final story straight with the Pax shove, the sooner the better.
And if they need a new chief basketball executive too, they should start even sooner.