The Dwyane Wade signing announcement was 3 weeks ago, the official paperwork was done 2 weeks ago, and after his trip to China the new Bulls shooting guard will be announced at the United Center today. Unfortunately it's been announced that Gar Forman will speak too.
It's making me go back to thinking about how weird, and likely bad, this offseason was. Sure, the Bulls were kind of stuck regardless, but they could've tried to get themselves unstuck by going with "Jimmy and the Butlers" and targeting young guys (and allowing room for their own young guys) who fit their best player and their coach.
But (in my view, anyway), a combination the Bulls having a fear of missing the playoffs, a lack of confidence in identifying the correct players on the upswing, and good ol' Bulls cheapness making them strive to only not be one of those 'dumb' teams handing out long-term deals in this spiked-cap offseason, led to this unholy Wade/Rondo alliance.
So in a way it makes sense, just not basketball sense. Here's how Zach Lowe put it:
Rajon Rondo and Wade are here on short-term deals to start a new streak while Chicago figures out what in the hell it would like to do once the cap flattens. The Bulls hope their presence might check Butler's ego a bit.
Never mind that the signings make no sense. When the Bulls hired Fred Hoiberg, they trumpeted him as the missing piece -- an offensive genius whose pace-and-space system would nudge them one step further than grouchy ol' Tom Thibodeau could. A year later, they have supplied Hoiberg with a group of ball-pounders who form the league's worst shooting starting five outside Philly...There just doesn't appear to be a real plan beyond buying time. Butler is off the market for now, per league sources, and it's tempting to read Chicago's all-in splash as an effort to maintain a winner around him.
As old friend Mark Deeks speculated, the 'buying time' Lowe mentions is just to hope Wade changes the culture and makes Chicago a free-agent destination...but I don't think it was a plan at the outset of free agency, this Wade signing just kind of fell in their lap as the only big market (plus the hometown angle) with the immediate ability and inclination to take on a 34 year old in a major role.
There's little need to belabor the point of the poor fit the Bulls have with their 'Three Alphas'. Here are a couple really good pieces from Jeff Feyerer Nylon Calculus and Danny Chau at The Ringer about just that. Given that we are all human beings and want to wish for the best, they each try to make the case that spacing isn't everything, and there's ways this can work. Freyer points out that Hoiball isn't entirely about 3 point shooting as much as it is pace and movement, and Chau brings up that Butler is a fantastic off-ball player who can be utilized well alongside their now ball-dominant backcourt.
But that's merely hopes for a solid offense, and Chau mentions almost as an aside how the defense could be really bad. When considering both sides of the ball, it becomes harder to believe this can really work out well.
But as time has passed from the initial shock, and reality has sunk in, there's a sense to still want to believe. As Ricky said in the aftermath, at least they should be interesting. But that interest may only peak on media day and last up until opening night. When we see the product on the court, I suppose 'interesting' could still be an apt description, but I can't see it being particularly 'entertaining'. Dwyane Wade's brand of entitlement-ball is one of the least watchable things in the league, and I'd probably have similar bad things to say about Rondo if I could even stand to watch his games the past few seasons. Heck, even Jimmy Butler had shown less of what made him a star, instead as the less exciting #JimmyBall was born and a leader was self-identified.
But, again, that's on the court. The day-to-day of watching, that will probably include a lot of hitting the skip-forward button during an endless parade of free throws.
I have little doubt Wade will make for a good press conference.
I'm reminded of what The Athletic's Jon Greenberg put succinctly and accurately about this whole thing.
While the Bulls will spin this as a chance to avoid rebuilding and an honest attempt to win, it smacks of a public relations move to bamboozle a loyal fanbase into paying top dollar to a rudderless organization.
Anecdotally, the feelings and spending habits were trending downward for the Bulls season ticket base. And now the Chicago Bulls are relevant again. But that only lasts so long. A season where they potentially can still miss the playoffs, with an aesthetically unpleasing style of play, will probably be more trying than inspiring.