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Chicago Bulls offseason: The blame has started, true accountability unlikely

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So, we're out. Now what?

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After a week of 'just end this madness already', the Bulls are mercifully now out of the playoffs. With games left to go on Monday and Wednesday, the players and coaches should have more to say about this disaster of a season. Maybe then following the season we'll actually hear from the architects of this dilapidated structure.

That's one thing KC Johnson of the Tribune is looking forward to.

The decline in public accountability from the top can't be overlooked either. That dynamic can filter down through a franchise.

It's why the planned postmortem with Bulls brass meeting with reporters, something not done in recent seasons other than to explain Tom Thibodeau's dismissal, will be welcomed.

I highly recommend checking out the full piece, an early post-mortem on the Bulls that covers a lot:

  • Forman and Paxson are likely staying, though interestingly Gar is singled out for 'credit' in both the Hoiberg hire and not dealing Gasol at the deadline.
  • There's also a lot of consternation about Forman's trade of Hinrich, and how that further affected an already-fractured locker room.
  • Gasol is likely gone, Noah is a maybe
  • Randy Brown will probably be kicked back upstairs, and putting a Forman spy like him on Hoiberg's inaugural bench wasn't a great idea.
  • The Jimmy Butler leadership campaign was as bad as it seemed.
Both KC and Steve Aschburner of NBA.com used the phrase 'eye-roll' when it came  to Jimmy Leader. Aschburner correctly gives skepticism to the whole 'they're talented, look at their record against top teams!' argument, and you won't read as much the stat that they were 2-13 against the Heat+Hawks+Hornets+Celtics (at a horrific point differential, too). Aschburner points out that this thing was pretty rotten to the core, with an ineffectual rookie head coach dealing with (and enabling) Butler, Rose's contract year (plus one), Noah's marginalization, etc. was likely screwed before it even began:

It wasn't Hoiberg's fault he was undercut well before his arrival, by management telling the locker room "Aw, don't worry what the coach wants" all of last season.
There will be a lot more on this dynamic in the coming days through free agency, to be sure. But the Bulls are currently in a real bad spot. This 'undercutting' of Hoiberg may have caused irreparable damage, but the Bulls certainly won't treat it as a sunk cost. Thus, not only will they hold on to the coach, but I can't see them firing his biggest benefactor, Forman. Doing so would just further signal to the players Hoiberg's not the guy.

So then it comes to those players, and who's sticking around. There looks to be a fundamental issue with Jimmy Butler's new max-contract persona, but he's the team's best player, a rare two-way threat that is signed for a long time and turning just 27 before next season. So instead of a new leader, it may be time to get him some followers, including some veterans that command respect on their own to replace that element from Noah and (apparently) Hinrich.

That's a big overhaul likely to only make for a worse team, but now it'd be a technical improvement to just make the playoffs.