After the NBA draft in June, Gar Forman proclaimed that when it comes to free agency, the Bulls would make basketball decisions and not financial ones.
Based on the team's moves this summer, the Bulls held true to that promise, for better or worse.
Forman's quote has been brought up time and again, especially by those critical of management's unwillingness to pay the league’s luxury tax.
There is no real way to separate business decisions from basketball ones, but according to a report from Businessweek ranking all 122 professional sports teams by the amount of money spent on payroll in the last five years and the number of wins produced as a result, we didn't do half bad.
The Bulls were ranked 38th overall and 10th within the NBA, behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets.
Of those teams, only four won championships in the last five years (Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Mavericks) and two aren’t considered among the NBA’s elite (Hawks, Nuggets).
With regard to payroll, Chicago averaged $67.3 million, just under the league average of $69.3 million. Based on those numbers, the Bulls averaged 45.4 wins per season, or six wins better than the league average of 39.4. With regard to wins over .500, the team averaged 7.6 victories compared to the league average of 5.37, and when it came to playoff wins, Chicago averaged 3.0 victories, just slightly better than the NBA average of 2.79.
And it’s reasonable to assume that the Bulls' playoff victory average would’ve been higher had Derrick Rose not torn his ACL in Game 1 of the playoffs.
Of course, there will always be those who remain critical of the front office when it comes to the way the team spends its money, but over the past five years, management’s perceived frugality has led to an awful lot of success.