Reminder: there is no offseason for depressing Bulls news. On Wednesday, the Sun-Times published a report saying Joakim Noah is on his way out of Chicago. Joe Cowley reports that Noah has been telling teammates he's ready to leave in free agency, with an anonymous player saying Noah "has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction."
The crux of Cowley's report centers on a fundamental mistrust between Bulls players and the front office. The tension that stained the Tom Thibodeau era was supposed to end when he was let go for Fred Hoiberg, but the players are reportedly still skeptical of management's intentions.
There are two parts of this story that are particularly damning.
"We know there's at least one assistant [coach] that tells Gar everything that goes on,'' the player said. "There's a lot of guys that have a problem with that, and not just Jo.''
But that also pulls back another layer with the Bulls that rubs players the wrong way. The feeling is there is no accountability with Forman because of the relationship he and his wife have with team president and COO Michael Reinsdorf and his wife, Nancy.
We know the aforementioned assistant coach is Randy Brown, who is likely to be jettisoned from the bench to the front office next season. The Reinsdorf family's loyalty is nothing new, either. Even if you take this report with a Joe Cowley-sized grain of salt (Noah's people have already denied it), there's ample evidence all of the Bulls' problems start from the top down.
Ownership doesn't care enough about the basketball side of the business to hold Gar Forman and John Paxson accountable. Forman and Paxson are at best socially inept weirdos who have somehow managed to strain just about every important relationship they have. That apparently extends all the way down to the roster, where the players don't know who is on their side and who isn't.
Noah is arguably the best center in franchise history, a huge part of the community and embodies so many of the ideals this organization is purportedly built around. He's also 31 years old and is coming off a year in which he shot 38.3 percent from the field before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
Noah may still have some good years left, and everyone knows the Bulls' defense tanked without him last season. Watching him play for another team will be a devastating blow to the fans who were so invested in the success of Thibodeau's teams. With that being said, sometimes you have to move on from an old core to fully embrace a new one.
The Bulls will probably be bad next year, and Joakim Noah will possibly be good elsewhere. The larger part of this story is just how much consternation surrounds this organization from the very top to the very bottom. When everyone hates each other, no franchise will have any chance of being successful.