Not once in my life have I ever felt this way about a Chicago sports team. Maybe its because I love basketball so much, maybe its because this completely contrasts the success that the Cubs just attained, but I feel sick to my stomach.
Fred Hoiberg has completely lost control of our city’s basketball players and he has no clear course of action from here. Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler were benched for ‘disciplinary reasons’ against the Heat last Friday, and based on the post game interviews, neither of them were even shook by this punishment. The players are angry, and expressing as much through various social media platforms. So, as a NBA franchise, where do all these frantically moving parts go from here? Lets delve in.
What Hoiberg really needs is one of those anger translators Key & Peele gave Obama in what was probably their most famous sketch. In all seriousness, this guy needs to learn to communicate with these players in such a way that he demands respect while clearly conveying his game-plans. We know he can run a silky smooth offense based on his years at Iowa State, but that has yet to be very visible in the pros. Unless Hoiberg can all of the sudden command the respect of the locker room, he will most deservedly spend the rest of the season on the hot seat.
If money was not an issue, I truly believe Hoiberg would be canned in a second. His coaching style has just not translated well to the league and the Bulls probably need a fresh start. But money is an issue. He has three years left on his contract, amounting to a total of $15 million, and we all know Reinsdorf hates paying dead money to fired coaches. Because of this, I believe we can expect at least one more season from Hoiberg and co.
Even though Wade has performed at relatively high level all season, he has recently been criticized by younger teammates, who have said Wade doesn’t practice as much as them. While practice is an incredibly important part of the game, the man is 35 years old, so there is some reason to him needing more rest than the younger players. Wade has also recently brought up his contract situation to the media, essentially saying that if these team fails to make improvements, he may consider leaving this summer.
I agree with that sentiment, and the way this team is headed at the moment, it would not surprise me if Wade was in a different uniform next year. He signed with a player option for a reason, and I truly believe he does not want to waste any more time on a dysfunctional team like the Bulls.
You really have to feel bad for Jimmy. Even though against the Heat last week he put up one of the worst performances of his entire career, shooting 1 for 13 and scoring 3 points in over 30 minutes of play, Jimmy is still the man on this team. He is the franchise at this moment, truly the only building block of value the organization has.
The Bulls’ entire future revolves around Jimmy Butler, whether that be trading him for high potential young talent or building around him and bolstering the roster. I believe GarPax will be too reluctant to trade him, but if the right offer is made for Jimmy, an offer which will have to include a lot of young talent, I think they will pull the trigger.
The last moving piece isn’t a person, but the NBA playoffs, and the Bulls’ chances of clinching a spot. Any other season I would say there is very little chance a team with this much dysfunction could make a playoff push, but the Eastern Conference is incredibly week, and we have seen this Bulls team play at a high level many times over the course of this season. There is talent on this roster, and I predict the Bulls will sneak in the playoffs as a seventh or eighth seed.