by B.J. Delas Armas
on 8/09/2004 12:12:00 AM
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Chicago Bulls Update
Jamal Crawford is now a New York Knick.
And so continues the Bulls' entrapment in a humdrum seven-year cycle of losing, and losing badly.
And it will continue past this upcoming year till either a very very special player(s) comes along for the Bulls to keep or the environment changes.
Why will this cycle continue ?
Because this team keeps stacking rookie players with talent hoping that they'll eventually blow past the competition, all the while maintaining a revolving door of veterans. With a revolving door of veterans, the rookies, while above average players and talented, are thrown into the fire without any meaningful veteran help. These rookies are saddled with carrying the team and the fans call to trade them or let them go by the end of their rookie contracts.
Fuck attack. Super fuck attack.
This trade was just another representative of that ongoing cycle of recycling veterans. You don't win in the NBA with a bunch of rookies, people who are in the process of figuring things out. Prior to LACMAing and killing brain cells watching Jessica Simpson trying to open a jar of peanut butter last Thursday night, I was all over the message boards letting every Bullhead know what a horrendously stupid trade John Paxson just made just to let out my anger as a Bulls fan responding to every stupid question I read.
Why was this particular trade stupid for the Bulls ?
While he wasn't going to set the world on fire, Jamal was the veteran there to ensure that this team had some chance at cracking the playoffs. He was the leading scorer on an offensively-deprived team. He had the most impact on whether this team won or lost just the past year. He was the most productive player this team had, admittedly though by default and wasn't as great as other team leaders.
Now why would they trade him you ask (you meaning, the smartass Jamal-hating Bulls fan of course) ?
Because as said he was going to be overpaid (relative to how others with his production and how low their salaries are). Overpaid too much for someone who was merely the leading scorer on the 2nd worst, arguably the worst, team in basketball. And plus, in the bigger picture he wasn't going to lead this team anywhere, so the Bulls kool-aid suckers say. Bottomline: he didn't "prove himself" enough as general manager John Paxson told him to before last season commenced.
OK, so maybe he wasn't going to lead this team all by himself to the championship and he wasn't a world-beater in the mold of Michael Jordan, but a few months ago when tickets were being sold, I remember a certain general manager from the Chicago Bulls named John Paxson promising PLAYOFFS. Playoffs ! Something that has not been seen in Chicago basketball since the end of Michael Jordan's 1st comeback.
And as I said earlier it will take either a very very special player to break this cycle of shittiness or a change in environment. Playoffs or gearing towards that would've definitely broken this cycle of shittiness.
However, in a recent interview discussing the trade, Paxson modified his tone towards the playoffs only saying, "this roster is far from complete," implying that playoffs were far from this team's reach even in the Eastern Conference and that he knew it. What's he's done as opposed to what he's said thus far is not gearing towards breaking that cycle of shittiness but rather catering to it.
He's sounded like a guy bent on this team getting to the playoffs who, preaching ever since his days as Bulls radio commentator just two years ago about the importance of two things: experience and defense. To date, he's done his best to acquire players who exhibited those traits, except that most of these players he's acquired are rookies. Rookies, meaning players with no experience, meaning they still have to figure out if they're good enough to hang with the big boys of the NBA, meaning that it should be a while before they function as a confident bunch of individuals who can put it altogether. Not Veterans (if they are, they're usually useless). And he just traded the longest tenured and most productive Bull. I think he knows all this and so he switched his tone to something ambiguous meaning we have to wait before he presents us our final product.
No problem, we can wait for him to complete his roster and wait for his new players to develop into great players right ?
No waiting should be done. Two reasons: it's been 7 years and history has shown that we'll be lodged into the cycle, and more practically, this is the contract year for the two most important players on this team.
As I said earlier, the Bulls have been losing for 7 years and it's been a cycle for them to give up their best players, leading scorers, their VETERANS initiated always with the general manager's promise of something better:
In 2001, they gave up Mr. consistent, Elton Brand for Tyson Chandler because Tyson Chandler had more potential to impact the game. (This is the only trade I actually think might pay off)
In 2002, they gave up 2004 defensive player of the year Ron Artest and top center Brad Miller for Jalen Rose because they wanted a bonified star to jumpstart this team's offense.
In 2003, they gave up Jalen Rose, leading scorer for the team in his one full year, and the second leading scorer Donyell Marshall for the offensively challenged Jerome Williams and a fossilizing Antonio Davis because they wanted to shore up the defense.
And now they just again traded their top productive player for the 4th year in a row, yet another veteran, this time for expiring contracts, which would enable the team in the future to have more flexibility to sign other players and/or foster deals.
Last time this team had so much flexibility was in 2000 when the team was at the infancy of its horrification but the light at the end of the tunnel lay in this flexibility to offer a lot of money to top players. They were planning on signing Tracy McGrady, Eddie Jones. Neither happened because Chicago had a LOSING TEAM, stock full of young players and castoffs. Proof that losing was a big concern to them: they went to teams that simply looked more promising; Eddie Jones was all but gone to Chicago until the Heat made an 11th hour offer for him. Apparently, he and his mom were praying very hard for the Hornets to sign and trade him to Miami and stay away from Chicago.
Since 2000, not much in the Bulls winning column has changed. Not much in the ingredients appears to have changed either except that there might be a ray of light in these two young big men named Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry, whom this organization has pinned their hopes on since they were drafted in 2001 because big and talented wins in the NBA. This organization has been waiting for them to "prove themselves" like Jamal, but that has yet to happen in terms of impacting the team's win total in the positive direction.
Amplifying the pressure on these two, apparently Paxson dealt Jamal Crawford so he could sign them at the end of the season with the one insy weensy lil (of course by that you know I'm being sarcastic) condition that Jamal Crawford had of "proving themselves" this season.
Proving themselves meaning impact the win column which will be super hard especially with ingredients for failure written all over them like an Anne Rice novel: more young players and castoffs. They don't even have their departed buddy to help them.
And so as the story goes, they'll be let go, just like Jamal, because they didn't "prove themselves." And if they'll be anything like Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Brad Miller. . .
As I said earlier it will take either a very very special player to break this cycle of shittiness or a change in environment. It goes on and on and on and on. . .
Labels: Chicago Bulls