The Reality of LeBron To The Bulls
Right now, after reading dueling articles from ESPN’s LeBron Tracker, I am finding it more and more difficult to believe LBJ is coming our way. Believe me, I actually thought this was a possibility a couple of months ago, but, after Jackson snubbed the rumor he would be willing to depart L.A. for Chicago, I just cannot believe it anymore.
So what if Jackson said he was not coming back east to lead the Bulls to another dynasty? That should not have any true bearing on James’ plans, right? Wrong, this is about more than simply wooing a professional basketball player. This summer is about courting a cultural figure who transcends the popularity of the sport in the United States and worldwide. This is an honest to goodness culture war and the Bulls are playing it the wrong way.
First, we fired Vinny Del Negro and demoted John Paxson from GM to VP of Basketball Operations. Then the organization let’s a rumor stating Phil Jackson will return marinate in the media before getting shot down by the Ring Maker right before a playoff game.
Vinny may have been a terrible coach and Paxson may be no Steve Kerr, but now we begin the search for another head coach. A search that only reminds everybody outside of the Chicagoland area how the Bulls could not pull the trigger and at least make Mike D’Antoni hesitate before escaping Phoenix for the bright lights of the Knicks.
The rumor of Jackson’s return to the Second City was lingering in the ether at the beginning of May, but then Chris Broussard goes and releases a story paraphrasing back channel sources. Suddenly PTI and Sportscenter discuss and report the story and Jackson is forced to answer the question before a freaking playoff game. Have we not learned Phil Jackson hates being painted into a corner? Of course he said no, and now he may be even more inclined to say no for real, after the season is over and he starts a public war over taking a pay cut.
We look terrible. We have PR professionals in this city, let’s freaking hire them. Following the example of one Jerry Krause is not the path that leads to LeBron. Instead, we look like the same disorganized franchise that failed to land Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Eddie Jones, and even Tim Thomas in the summer of 2000.
To put this is another light, Bill Simmons made a point of stating LeBron would choose Chicago if he was truly about winning, but what about our organization says we have a culture of winning? The Bulls have no coach again, no high profile GM, and no chance of landing LeBron as of right now.
This is not to say the other candidates are really any better. The Nets are bringing in a wild card majority owner from Russia, the Knicks are hardly going to surround him with championship material (even with another max guy), and Cleveland just fired the Coach of the Year from last season.
Luckily the sad state of these other franchises and the fact nobody wants to play for the Clippers gives the Bulls a little more than a month to repair the damage done and put the city, team, and duo of Rose and Noah in a better light. Then maybe Bulls tickets will be good for more than a first round exit after a terrible first half of the season and amazing second. Maybe, but it is becoming harder to believe.