This was always the risk of the great 2010 plan, striking out on the big 3 free agents. For that reason, from the outset I didn't like it. The Cavs early exit opened the LeBron door farther than we could've imagined, and I do give the Bulls credit for fully positioning themselves through the deals of Salmons and Hinrich once they decided a year ago to basically tank for one year to make a leap forward.
And even if it wound up successful, I would've been ecstatic for the team, but still would've given most glory to luck, though some kudos to the front office amalgam of Gar Paxdorf as well. Because there is skill in closing these deals, and while we'll never know how much of a shot the Bulls ever had (here's hoping we get some details though), the result we can know for certain is that they didn't get it done. Not an absolute failure, things could've gone worse. Carlos Boozer is a fine addition and with maximum cap room the offseason is certainly not finished. But it's a failure.
I'm of two minds when it comes to reconciling this defeat: One is that it shows yet again that John Paxson and Gar Forman shouldn't be this (seemingly) untouchable: they're clearly not that special. Cutting payroll is easy work, the Bulls could now use a new, more autonomous, lead executive to take the reigns and get to finishing building this team. I want our Pat Riley.
Probably won't happen, as much as I think a dramatic front-office change (Paxson wants to quit anyway) will be the best way to get over this and move forward. Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't do dramatic. Maybe, in retrospect, the biggest reason not to plan on the chance of this free agent class in the first place.
But the other mindset is still excitement about the rest of this offseason and the the coming season: at least, after a year-long hiatus, we're now trying again to win, and get better.
Which will be fun, but keep in mind what we're chasing: the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, and now the Miami Heat. The best in the league (and certainly the East), that's what we should be trying to be. Not merely settling for a solid team with solid offseasons. There's a talent deficiency to make up, and this summer is our last chance at cap space or the lottery in possibly a few years. I think we should be aggressive with our next move. And going forward, we will have to go into the luxury tax to keep assembling and keeping talent.
I wish someone else was given a chance to take that challenge, but I hope it succeeds all the same.