John Paxson

The Bulls have been out of the NBA action since April, but off-season chatter is booming. If you’ve blocked out the Bulls since they missed the playoffs, you may be a bit out of the loop, but let me catch you up on the details consuming Chicago fans.

First, the Minnesota Timberwolves named ex-Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau the president of operations as well as the head coach of their organization in April. Basically, the T-wolves gave Thibs the reigns and said “make us a contender pretty please.” Thibodeau got pushed out of the Bulls organization after the 2015 season mostly because he didn’t see eye-to-eye with the front office – specifically Gar Forman and John Paxson. Despite his winning  the Coach of the Year award in 2011 and tying the record for most wins (62) for a rookie coach, Gar and Paxson figured Thibs was the problem with the Bulls. Then the Bulls hired pretty-boy Fred Hoiberg, had the rockiest season I can remember and missed the playoffs entirely. Just loads and loads of disappointment.

Fast forward to May, as news broke that Joakim Noah was over the Chicago Bulls organization and will be exploring his options as an unrestricted free agent this off-season. WHAT! Literally my heart shattered into a million pieces. Jo-No has been a staple in Chicago since being drafted by the Bulls in 2007. He’s given his heart and soul to the team, been viewed as a leader and then Hoiberg struts in and takes away his starting lineup spot. Now, it’s understandable that Hoiberg was trying to jazz things up and find a rhythm for his new team, but pushing his veteran out of the picture probably wasn’t his best move. However, Noah didn’t specifically bring up losing his starting spot as a reason for his desire to move on from the Bulls. Instead, it was all focused on the front office. A fellow player said Noah has no trust in the front office moving the team in the right direction and that players don’t trust Gar Forman. Rumor has it there’s an assistant coach who is also a little tattle tale and tells Gar everything that happens with the team. That same player also indicated that former head coach Thibs acted as a buffer between the front office and the team, which is probably why he got pushed out.

Jo-No is coming off his worst statistical season of his career, only appearing in 29 games, averaging only 4.3 points and shooting under 40 percent from the floor. Let’s not forget about the season ending shoulder injury he suffered and has been rehabilitating. Although the demand for Noah may not be what it once had been, he’s still a presence to be reckoned with. Also any team looking for a veteran leader with sick rebounding abilities would be interested in Noah. He’s 31 and could easily revive his career if he can stay healthy.

This week, rumor has it that Thibodeau is interested in shopping for Joakim Noah during free agency. Honestly, I’m not surprised. Noah had his absolute best seasons under coach Thibodeau and won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2014 with Thibs by his side. Why wouldn’t Joakim want to reunite with his favorite head coach?

So where does that leave the Bulls? A hot damn mess. Pau Gasol is also a free agent come the off-season so technically the Bulls could be without both veteran centers. Rumors are surfacing that the Bulls should trade Jimmy Butler and completely rebuild. Looks like we may be stuck with Derrick Rose and his two surgically repaired knees. Ummm, go T-Wolves? Thank goodness it’s baseball season.

 

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After five seasons, case zero NBA championships and a reputation of running starting players into the ground, viagra the Chicago Bulls dismissed head coach Tom Thibodeau after last season. I know, doctor I know. He may have won Coach of the Year in 2013, but being a stubborn arse doesn’t get you any where in life. In June, Chicago hired Fred Hoiberg to take over at head coach. If you’re like myself and took a quick break from NBA basketball after the Michael Jordan era, you may be thinking “who is this Fred Hoiberg guy?” Well, let me give you the low down.

First, lets give this handsome fella a quick search on google image. I mean, thank you for the eye candy Bulls. Compared to Thibodeau (who I swear looked like Danny DeVito’s Penguin villain in Batman), Hoiberg is literally a male model.

More importantly, let us learn a bit about why this man is qualified to coach an NBA basketball team. Hoiberg was most recently the head coach for Iowa State and basically the mayor/savior of Ames, Iowa. He grew up in Ames, played basketball in Ames and is notably the most popular player in Iowa State basketball history. After college Hoiberg was drafted as a Shooting Guard by the Indiana Pacers in 1995 and after four years was picked up by the Chicago Bulls as a free agent. Unfortunately, Hoiberg was a Bull during the “re-building years” post Jordan and the team never really did too much, but his reputation was that of a good shooter and great teammate. He also built relationships with John Paxson (VP of Basketball Operations) and Gar Forman (General Manager) during his tenure in Chicago. After four years in our windy city, Hoiberg took his three-point sharp shooting talents to the Minnesota Timberwolves. His career was cut short due to a heart condition, but Hoiberg joined the Timberwolves front office.

In 2010 Hoiberg became the head coach for Iowa State, despite having zero coaching experience.  In less than two years, Hoiberg took a terrible team (we’re talking 15-17) and transformed them into a competitor. Iowa State has gone 115-56 in his five years coaching the Cyclones and made it to the NCAA tournament the last four years.

It can be difficult to make the transition from college to NBA as a head coach, but Hoiberg is known for running an NBA-style offense at the college level. His offensive creativity is something many Thibodeau haters are very excited about. After some difficult and definitely frigid relationships with Tom Thibodeau and Vinny Del Negro, the Bulls are absolutely looking for a coach they can get along with. We know Hoiberg already has a great working relationship with the front office, now we just need him to have something special with the players.

If nothing else, Hoiberg sure is easy on the eyes. So that’s a definite plus. I look forward to seeing what this guy has up his sleeve for us Bulls fans this season.

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After months of trade rumors, doctor the Chicago Bulls ended an era when they wheeled and dealed their two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night.

Initially, seek you might be thinking the Bulls front office has lost their marbles. Deng has been the most consistent offensive player on the Bulls the past few years, ampoule he’s led the entire league playing a ridiculous amount of minutes, he’s a stifling defender and he has a heart of gold.

It wasn’t always pretty, but Lou gave Chicago his all throughout his 10 year journey and embodied the Bulls gritty defense-minded approach. Unfortunately, our love for Luol Deng is not enough to keep him in Chicago. There are plenty of reasons why the Deng-er-ang was sent off to hang with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. It’s business, baby.

To give the Bulls’ organization some credit, they did try to keep Deng in Chicago by offering him a 3-year, $30 million extension last week. However, Deng declined the offer which then led to plan B – the trade.

Deng is 28, leading the team in points scored, but he’s also be ailed by quite a few injuries this season and in past years. The game takes a lot of wear and tear on the body. John Paxson, Chicago’s VP of Basketball Operations, addressed the media immediately Tuesday morning to discuss the big move. He explained just how hard of a decision it was to trade Luol and the amount of respect the organization has for the NBA player.

Chicago has been through the ups and downs with Deng and he has always proven the toughest of soldiers, playing through sprains, muscle tears and spinal taps. The city is forever grateful for his time here and we wish him nothing but greatness in Cleveland (unless he’s playing the Bulls of course).

What the Bulls got in Return:

I know what you’re thinking, “ditching Deng better have been worth it,” or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. The Bulls picked up center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs. Los Bulls already have a solid center in Joakim Noah, so they will release Bynum before the Jan. 7 deadline (tonight). This will clear up about $12.3 million to go with the $14.3 million they saved by trading Deng.

The draft picks are what really sweetened the deal. The Bulls now have a boatload of draft picks coming their way in the next few years. This is great news because the 2014 draft is deep with talented players and the Bulls could really get some quality guys.

What This Means for the Bulls:

The fun has only just begun for the Chicago Bulls’ front office. This trade absolutely signifies a new era in Chicago basketball and a time for rebuilding, but it’s not going to be a complete overhaul. They still have serious talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Yes, trading Deng means the Bulls won’t be doing much winning this season, but the goal is to develop the young players we do have like Tony Snell and find the the guys who can truly take the Bulls to a championship upon Derrick Rose’s return.

DRose is still the center of Chicago’s universe. The organization’s goal is to find the best players to compliment Rose. We need a team who no longer plays under Derrick, but rather a team who plays well WITH Derrick.

Expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer, this will cut another $16.8 million for the Bulls spending, which would hopefully allow enough salary cap room for the signing of an elite caliber free agent. All these deals give the Bulls quite a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the limitations of players they can sign.

These are absolutely long shots, but players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe and even LeBron James could potentially be attainable. The Bulls have cap space and with some tempting rookies, Chicago may be able to conjure up some sign-and-trade deals.

Losing Deng is no easy feat. It’s going to take the team some time to bounce back after their silent leader was traded away, but I bet Joakim Noah is even more upset that the poor guy has to live in Cleveland.

Farewell Luol, we’ll miss you and your Dengerous wingspan.

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Whether you are a Bulls fan or not, mind it’s hard to argue the fact that the Bulls are Chicago’s best team. When it comes to the best overall record, diagnosis consistency, clinic depth and pure talent,  the Bulls have got it all.  Need more proof?  As we approach the start of the Playoffs, the Bulls are close to finishing the season with the best record in the NBA for the second year in a row.  No other Chicago team in the last 5 years has come close to accomplishing such a feat.

Chicago is a basketball town.  But just knowing that Michael Jordan played for the Bulls doesn’t cut it when it comes to must-know knowledge for Chicago’s most successful team.  We’ve pulled together some critical facts that every Bulls fan must keep in their vault of sports knowledge.  Familiarize yourself with these interesting Bulls facts – great for cocktail parties, impressing suitors, and during awkward drinking moments during the upcoming Playoffs.

The Michael Jordan Era:  Anytime someone refers to the Bulls ‘dynasty’, they are talking about the Michael Jordan years.  Jordan was unquestionably, the best Bull in the history of the game, and many argue, in the history of the sport.  It was Jordan who propelled the Bulls into a world-wide household name in the 80s and 90s and gave the city 10 years of explosive sports seasons.

  1. With Michael Jordan playing and Phil Jackson coaching, the Bulls won 6 championships in 8 years, with two three-peats (1991-1993 and 1995-1998)
  2. During the 1995-96 season with Jordan, the Bulls won 72 games (out of 82) – setting an NBA record that still hasn’t been broken 
  3. Jordan retired twice in his career – first in 1993, but returned in 1995, and for good in 1998.
  4. In 1992, both the Bulls and the Blackhawks were playing in the Finals at the same time (NBA Finals for the Bulls and the Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks).  Both teams would lose in the Finals.

Other interesting Bulls facts:

5. The Bulls are the 3rd most valuable NBA franchise (there are 30 teams in the NBA) with an estimated value of $600 million

6. The Detroit Pistons are historically considered the Bulls’ biggest rivals due to the Jordan era in the late 80s/early 90s

7. Derrick Rose, the #1 draft pick of the Bulls in 2008 and current franchise player, is from Chicago – specifically, Englewood.

8. John Paxson, current VP of Bulls Operations, played for the Bulls in the 90s with Michael Jordan.

John Paxson

9. At 22 years old, Derrick Rose was the youngest recipient in the history of the NBA to receive the coveted NBA MVP award in 2011.

10.  The Bulls success in the ’90s was a main driver behind the development of foodie-mecca, Randolph Street.  Before the 90s, Randolph was considered skid-row and full of “hookers and hoboes”, according to restaurateur, Jerry Kleiner.

 

 

 

 

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