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Jeff Van Gundy rips the Bulls front office for Asik leaving and other offseason decisions

"There's no way you can let big, young talent go if you want to compete for a championship."

caption contest?
caption contest?

This is a day late, but thanks to intrepid commenter ProtoPunch I can now bring to you the Jeff Van Gundy rant from Sunday's Bulls-Lakers game. It was fantastic. The only drawback was if you actually were hoping the announcers would talk about the NBA basketball game going on in front of them.

But wouldn't you rather hear this?

JVG: You see the lack of shooting by the Bulls, it's hard to get space for Boozer to attack in the low post. Somehow have to address that in the offseason.

Breen: Missing Kyle Korver has been huge, they're second-last in three pointers made per game...their bench was depleted. Asik, Watson, Korver, Lucas, Brewer. Some key players that Thibodeau used off the bench.

JVG: They had such great depth. I think they're going to regret for a long time not matching the Rockets offer for Asik. In 30 minutes a game, he is averaging a double-double, second in the league in rebounding, and he is a great great defensive center.

Breen: But he'd only have been a backup [with the Bulls], tough to give that money for a backup though.

JVG: not at all! Noah's been out with injury, Boozer's been out before. Listen: you don't draft, sign, develop a guy like they did with Asik and then let him go for nothing. You match it, and then later in the contract if you want to trade him, trade him. But to lose that great player for zero? They're going to regret it.


(later mention of Asik amongst NBA rebounding leaders)

Breen: It's going to be very difficult, especially with the new CBA penalties, to pay that kind of money to a player that's only going to be a backup.

JVG: Well then you don't want to win. You don't want to win. I listened to the Bulls in the offseason. They said they didn't make that decision for financial reasons, that it was purely a basketball decision.

Breen: Well that can't be true.

JVG: Right! There's no way you can let big, young talent go if you want to compete for a championship. The reason teams go in the Luxury Tax is to try and win it. That's where Miami is, that's where Dallas has been. The same with the Korver trade. You can't give a great shooter like that for nothing. It's not my money, so I'm not saying the Bulls and Jerry Reinsdorf should spend the money, but I'm saying that it impacts your ability to win.

Breen: Well there's no doubt....

JVG: If you want to win championships, you're going to have to spend. Because their greatest strength was their frontcourt depth, and Derrick Rose.

Breen: Unfortunately I think that's going to be more of the norm [due to the new CBA].

JVG: The Lakers will spend! They're going over the luxury tax. They will spend $100m in tax next year.

Breen: But the Lakers could've signed some extra help down the stretch of this season, and didn't do so because of the financial implications.

JVG: Well who's out there now who can make a difference? Asik makes a difference. I can understand not signing people just to sign people. But when you've got difference-makers, and you want to win it...and I think this goes back to what Reggie Rose was talking about...if you want to win it, then you're going to have to pay.

Breen: Reggie Rose created quite a stir [when he talked about his brother coming back and the team around Derrick]. time you have a contract negotiation with ESPN, stand there and say "you gotta pay!"

JVG: It's not that, I'm just saying: you can't have it both ways. You have to decide and prioritize. Again, it's not my money, so not that Jerry Reinsdorf should spend it. But if you want to win, you keep Asik. You've got to keep those young talented players. I believe the new CBA screwed up, where you have to pay for guys that you helped develop. I don't get that part.

Breen: Unfortunately the way it had been, so many teams were losing money that the system had to change.

JVG: But the Bulls weren't one of them. The Bulls make huge money. So all I'm saying, is making less profit...I can understand losing money not doing it.

Breen: But the teams losing money caused the change, and that impacts all the teams, not just the ones losing money.

JVG: Well I don't even believe that many teams were really losing money...

(they go into stuff about disagreements in franchise accounting during the lockout)

I tried my best to paraphrase the conversation, plus added links for context on what they were referencing. There was some actual play-by-play in there, though not much...and there was also a lot of Mike Breen laughing while failing to get Van Gundy to back down on this.

As noted in the comments, it appears national observers have been more critical of the Bulls offseason decision-making that from what we've read in Chicago, and though it died down at the start of the year it picked back up again after Reggie Rose's comments put it back into the mainstream. This may have been the highest-profile example yet, and it follows a Grantland column from Bill Simmons, and on Monday in his power rankings David Aldridge questioned why it's on Rose to 'rush' back if the Bulls themselves didn't "invest" in this season.