There has been plenty of bad news surrounding the Chicago Bulls. For instance, starting out a nationally televised game on the wrong end of a 20-4 run. Only scoring 26 points by halftime in that same game. Getting destroyed in every second half resulting in the post All-Star break 5-game losing streak that has moved them out of playoff contention. Trading a legit starter, three-point shooting rotation player, and mysteriously, a second-round pick for three players who cannot contribute meaningful minutes on a non-contending team. Replacing Niko Mirotic on the roster for a fifth point guard. Fred Hoiberg’s continued nonsensical rotation experiments after 80% of the season are over. Your second leading scorer is out for the year. Any article that confirms job security for the front office.
Can this be any worse? Certainly! In fact, it will mostly likely get worse for Chicago before it gets better, but can we make a case for any other franchise holding the title for largest dumpster fire?
Important Note: In no way should any of this be used as a defense of the horrible job Chicago’s front office has done with this team. Nor should it provide any evidence that Fred Hoiberg is remotely competent as an NBA head coach. This is all on you Jerry Reinsdorf. The Bulls are bad and you should feel bad.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have about 36% of their salary cap tied up in two players who do not contribute to the present, let alone the future of the franchise. Both Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng are locked up with the Lakers through 2020, and there is a slim chance getting another team to take these new level contracts. That said the rest of this squad is incredibly young, under great contracts, and full of potential. D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram are already showing flashes of great potential. While Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have shown they can at least be relevant in and NBA rotation. The Buss family situation does not paint a picture of a competent front office, but the allure of LA and the quality of Luke Walton as a head coach adequately mask the dysfunction for now.
The Bulls also have about 36% of their salary tied up in two players. Dwyane Wade is far more relevant than Mozgov or Deng, but Rondo is an albatross. The Bulls can at least move on from Rondo next season for only $3 million, and Wade could potentially not accept his player option and go play with a real contender (fingers crossed). After that, the only real asset on this team is Jimmy Butler. You could possibly see Robin Lopez or even Cristiano Felicio in a rotation for a good team, but neither approach the break-out potential on the young Lakers’ roster. Sure, Bobby Portis, Paul Zipser, or Nikola Mirotic could develop into something, but not under this regime. This front office’s dysfunction comes from the fact that it is run as a boy’s club. They occasional make good decisions (drafting Jimmy, trading Rose), but have been on a steady decline with horrible break-ups with the last three coaches (watch out Hoiberg).
Both front offices have question marks on their record and their competency. With a better coach and a better group of young talent in Los Angeles, you have to give the nod to the Bulls as the bigger dumpster fire.
This front office is lost. They somehow successfully put together a roster that rivals the Bulls in confusion. Nikola Vucevic, Bismack Biyombo, and Aaron Gordon just get in each other’s way, along with that brief Serge Ibaka experiment for Victor Oladipo. They do not have a history with drafting well or being on the right side of any trade. That said, they have a solid coach in Frank Vogel and some interesting young talent. They do have the ability to move some decent contracts and talent to free cap space. They also have all their draft picks, plus a top-five protected Laker’s pick in 2018 (unprotected 2019) and the Bulls’ second round pick this year. Bonus points for no state income tax.
Terrible roster construction is something both fan bases can relate with. The Bulls have not figured out how to build around Jimmy Butler, but if Aaron Gordon is worth building around, Orlando’s track record is not promising. The Bulls front office can at least say they built a contender when Derrick Rose was healthy, and they have the upper hand when it comes to analyzing draft prospects. The Bulls don’t have much talent to move in trades, but also do not take the risks that Orlando does when making trades.
Tough choice. Magic has more talent, but Jimmy Butler is the best asset between the two teams by far. The draft is the best way back from the bottom. The Bulls’ better track record gives them the edge when it comes to rebuilding, but this would require the Bulls pulling the trigger on a full tank. If Bulls stay the course, Orlando has the better chance of getting out of the gutter. If the Bulls can get a haul for Jimmy Butler, then I’d trust the Bulls more. Call it a tie for now. Dumpster fires are burning equally until the offseason, but GarPax is still standing around with a gallon of gasoline.
New York Knicks
Joakim Noah’s long term health is already under question in year one of his four-year/$72.5 mil contract putting it in the running for worst contract in the NBA. We also need to factor in the almost $20 million per year wrapped up in Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas until 2020. There is a visible and growing rift between Carmelo Anthony (who isn’t getting any younger) and the front office. Phil Jackson might or might not be trolling New York by insisting on running the triangle in 2017. Jeff Hornacek is in the running with Fred Hoiberg for worst coach in the NBA. The only thing to get excited about is the unicorn himself Kristaps Porzingis; that and not resigning Derrick Rose. I’ll even give the Knicks a Willy Hernangomez bump since he is young and has interesting potential.
In a rare smart move, the Bulls did not resign the fan-favorite Noah. Fans were also not upset with this, as it fit the younger/faster rebuild promised by the front office. It does not take an NBA genius to know that $72.5 mil/ four years for an aging big man with consistent health problems is a horrible move. The Bulls also have less long-term contracts holding up cap space. Unlike the Knicks superstar, Jimmy Butler is on the right side of his prime but the rift between him and the front office is just as real as Melo’s.
Bulls have more cap room, a better superstar, and amazingly a smarter front office. The Knicks have better young talent and a history of making nothing out of something. Knicks got the bigger dumpster.
Stauskas? Stauskas! The joke of Vivek Randive’s career as the Kings’ owner is actually haunting him by playing well on another team. Trading DeMarcus Cousins for Buddy Hield was an unfathomably bad trade, along with other trades that have given up draft picks. Vlade Divac seems completely over his head when it comes to managing an NBA team, and will have to rebuild without their first round pick in 2019.
Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick for garbage men are almost as bad as the Boogie trade. You can argue that getting rid of Boogie at least changes the culture and direction of the franchise, something that the Bulls’ front office refuses to address. Also, the Bulls do not have their own second-round draft pick for the next three drafts.
Buddy Hield is better than Cam Payne. After that, I can’t give any more credit to the Kings. Vivek needs to hire and delegate to people who know what they are doing or sell the team. Until then, the Kings have a monster dumpster fire on their hands.
One aging superstar who can at best be traded at 60 cents on the dollar. After that, they don’t own their 2017 or 2018 first round picks. Along with the potential loss of their 2018, 2019 and 2020 second round picks. They did get a first round pick from Washington for Bojan Bogdanovic when all the Bulls could get for Taj Gibson was being forced to give away a second round pick with Taj.
Chicago didn’t trade their first-round picks away, though did trade their second round picks away. I’m not sure I’d trade too many of the Bulls rotation players away for the rotation in Brooklyn.
Nets – biggest dumpster fire in the league.