Bradford Doolittle is one of the two-man team that writes the yearly Pro Basketball Prospectus, and today wrote an article for ESPN.com (Insider) on the Bulls offseason. There are still some out there that believe in the idea that the Bulls were being prudent by letting guys go, but this speaks to more of the actual truth:
"Our decisions this summer will be basketball decisions, not financial decisions."
Forman's intentions were noble. He was trying to emphasize that the Bulls' business operations -- which, of course, are headed up by owner Jerry Reinsdorf -- would not be undercutting the basketball side of the operation. In a league governed by a strict collective bargaining agreement, it was an exceedingly silly thing to say. Of course the basketball decisions are also financial ones.
Let's get one thing straight: There was only one thing keeping the Bulls from bringing back the exact same roster plus their first-round pick from this season. That reason, of course, was money.
The Bulls' brain trust foresaw the roster becoming expensive this summer, with Rose's extension looming, Asik's free agency and the eventual decision to be made on Taj Gibson. The powers that be gave themselves escape hatches on three of their best-value contracts, then leaped through when they had the chance.
In the end, the Bulls will return just seven players from the roster that won more games than any other the past two seasons, and that includes Rose, who might not return until March, if at all. The team built on depth suddenly has none.
The Bulls didn't really gain any flexibility by breaking up their bench, either. They've only saved Reinsdorf's money. Asik's salary would have been reasonable for two years, and that third year probably could have been off-loaded, or, if he bombed, he could have been bought out or waived, with his cap number spread out because of the CBA's stretch clause. The contracts of Korver, Brewer and Watson all would have expired, leaving the oft-discussed plan of having flexibility for the summer of 2014 entirely plausible.
There is MUCH more at the link, but those were a few appropriate haymakers that's nice to see. A proper evaluation of what transpired the past couple of months.
It really went as bad as it could get: they let better players go to save money, yet simultaneously left themselves at a point to where they can't even add a minimum salary player all season, which I'd say is a completely inflexible situation.