Former ESPN.com reporter and part-time sideline mimbo Ric Bucher utilized the hated Sulia to dump this longform message about the Bulls. It's interesting, though I'm not sure exactly credible. He starts by commenting on the recent rumors of the Bulls considering cutting Nate Robinson:
Let's get something straight: the reason the Bulls don't plan to hang on to Nate Robinson past Jan. 10 and thereby guarantee his $1.2 million contract for the year is because they don't want to pay luxury tax, not because they have an overcrowded backcourt or are anticipating the return of Derrick Rose.
This rings true if you are correctly scratching your head over the Bulls considering such a move at all: if they do it, it's a cash-saving move only. Though to be more accurate, while Nate's salary is $1.2m, the cap (and thus tax) figure is only around $800k if guaranteed for the whole season.
For what it's worth, KC Johnson's latest on Nate has the Bulls likely keeping Robinson past the guarantee date (which Mark Deeks reports is 1/1, not 1/10). I think Ric may be taking a shot at KC (which is fine: because saying cutting Nate is because Marquis Teague has earned the spot is a farce) and the rest of the Chicago-based media, especially with what follows. It's...something:
A source continues to insist Derrick is not coming back any time soon, if at all, this season, no matter how often the Bulls or anyone else in Chicago starts to get breathless about him practicing or working out. I understand why the Bulls do it -- they have to keep hope alive and ticket sales humming. But can we call the situation for what it is? A holding period. The organization made a conscious decision to be frugal this season, resulting in a roster that isn't as good or deep as last year's -- yet somehow that's being ignored just because they're still at the top of the division. Can the Bulls be better than either the Knicks or the Heat, not to mention the Thunder? In a playoff series? Not a chance. And yet this is a roster that DRose should shortcut his recovery for? How about, instead, Derrick tunes himself up for next season and this summer the Bulls combine whatever pieces are necessary, including that No. 1 pick from Charlotte, to put a bona fide All-Star next to Rose? How about the next time he has to go up against LeBron and Wade and Bosh, or KD and Russ and Ibaka, or any other three stars, he has at least one legitimate fellow All-Star caliber talent next to him? I love the grit of the current Bulls' team, particularly Noah and Deng, but they're not guaranteed to start on more than half the teams in the league. And they represent the next two best players the Bulls have. I'm sure there are plenty in Chicago who are dying to see Rose back this season. My take: they should be dying to see the Bulls find a wingman that make Rose's return worthwhile first.
Now, it's potentially distracting in how Bucher undersells the non-Rose roster to such a high (low) degree. The part about Deng and Noah is ridiculous. Only slightly less ridiculous is the assertion that the Bulls couldn't compete with the Knicks given they've just beat them twice. I know the Bulls are regular season juggernauts, but still.
The real eye-catcher, and this is probably Bucher's aim, is the stuff about Rose. It's really two things.
One is the actual report that "A source continues to insist Derrick is not coming back any time soon, if at all, this season". So, believe that, or not. I try not to really care about Rose updates either way, until he's actually practicing which is
months a month away at best. Not coming back all season would be outside the norm in terms of this kind of injury, though.
The rest reads so much like an anti-Org. rant it's as if he has a BaB user account. And I agree with some of it in principle. Though, again, I think he undersells what the team currently is, I'm definitely in agreement that the Org. saw a team close to contention with their star injured, and chose to cheap out instead of strengthen themselves. And I'm certainly on board with the idea of making an aggressive move using their remaining assets instead of the joke of the 2014 plan.
I guess if you want to twist yourself into making this item interesting, it's how the report and the rant might be connected. Is this source close to Rose, and is hinting at Rose himself feeling a disconnect with how the Bulls responded to his injury, and how he (or his people) prefer to get out and star-chase?
Bucher's been wrong before, but I assume has has peeps even though he no longer works for the 'worldwide leader'. He successfully got my attention even though he has a really poor eye for the on-court product if he thinks so low of Deng an Noah.