It was a hell of a day to be a Bulls fan. First, the team decided against trading Pau Gasol for reasons unknown. Well, actually, not totally unknown because Gar Forman considers the 36-year-old-to-be a part of the team's core. An asinine statement, to be sure. But then in a stunning turn of events, the team dumped Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta (again!) in a move that can only be Forman and/or John Paxson's best attempt at trolling the entire fan base.
Honestly, it felt like tonight's game -- a nationally televised one against bitter rival LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, no less -- hardly mattered in a day spent mostly in displeasure, disdain and confusion.
Yeah, the Bulls lost. But that didn't make an already disappointing day any worse. If anything, the losses are something we're coming to expect from this group as they've now lost five straight. They've lost seven of their last eight overall with no signs of turning it around.
What today represented was the last real shot at salvaging an otherwise lost season, and that's what sucks more than anything else: the losses will mount and there's little in place to cheer for.
Honestly, tonight's loss didn't compound anything. It wasn't the tipping point. A win would've been nice, but the loss didn't sting. All that happened were the same things we're already accustomed to, anyway. Derrick Rose played pretty well, which is genuinely fun to see but is about the only positive. The defense is a disaster. Gasol got his garbage time numbers. Tony Snell and Doug McDermott are dangerously close to becoming lost causes. And even Thibs couldn't fix the bench as presently constituted.
It's difficult for me to focus on traditional game recap notes and stats when the on-court stuff has become so predictable. If you've watched one Bulls game in the past month, you've watched them all. It's not an effort thing, it's a talent thing. It's not a coaching thing, it's a front office thing.
Obviously, the team is devastated by injuries right now. It'll feel better once Jimmy Butler gets back. It'll be nice to get Nikola Mirotic healthy and hopefully get back on the right track. But as of right now? This sucks, man. Even with the aforementioned coming back, we already know what the finished version of these Bulls look like: a second round exit. And at this rate, it's worth considering whether they make it out of the first, or the playoffs at all.
I know Bulls fans -- especially the ones on Twitter, and I'm including myself here -- can be an insufferable bunch. We complain a lot and there's no denying that. But these thoughts and feelings that I'm feeling right now aren't out of emotional distress. It's more a numbness to it all, and that's what concerns me.
Basically, what incentive has the front office given us to stay invested? They might not be smart enough to make a trade, but they can't be blind, too, can they? This product is a bad product. The Bulls lost a game tonight but they probably lost their season this afternoon when the trade deadline passed without a dramatic shakeup of the roster.
The reality of the situation is that the Bulls are in basketball hell. But it's a uniquely Bulls basketball hell because they aren't a clown show like the Kings. They aren't actively harming the development of their young talent like the Lakers. They aren't #TrustingTheProcess like the Sixers. By sheer inactivity and lack of creativity, the Bulls have become painfully average. No one is envious of them and no one fears them.
I don't know, man. I hope it gets better, but at least it probably can't get any worse. What a day, indeed.