The 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls roster is all but set and it’ll be a lot different than what fans of the team have been used to seeing over the last two seasons. High expectations have been converted to those of the middling variety and championship aspirations are all but gone with Derrick Rose still out.
The Bulls are both a victim of bad luck and a new collective bargaining agreement designed to make teams much more fiscally responsible than they have been in the past. Of course, in the case of the Bulls and their owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, they’ve always been careful about watching the bottom line.
A large market team that spends like a small market team and sees annual success should be celebrated. But there is a large segment of the Bulls fan base that doesn't care about them being in the black every year and the “See Red” playoff slogan means something entirely different for this swath of disgruntled armchair GM’s who feel they’re smarter than the professionals and find pleasure in spending someone else’s money.
Besides, calling Reinsdorf “cheap” isn’t exactly accurate.
The current contracts of Derrick Rose ($95 million), Carlos Boozer ($75 million), Luol Deng ($70 million) and Joakim Noah ($60 million) immediately come to mind as examples of the Bulls spending money on players.
It can be argued that three of these guys are overpaid and only “1” deserves the kind of money he’s making, but at least those guys can play. Paying $25 million for Omer Asik wouldn't have been wise. Neither was paying Ben Wallace $60 million back in 2006.
And let's not forget that Reinsdorf shelled out $30.1 and $33.1 million dollars respectively to Michael Jordan in 1997 and 1998, the largest single-season contracts in the history of professional sports.
Obviously, fans want to see the Bulls pay big bucks on superstars in the summer, so it’s ironic that the fire sale of 2010 -- where the team gutted the roster to make a run at LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- is quickly forgotten, mostly because it’s so much more fun to say the team doesn’t really care about putting a team together that can win a championship.
NBA titles are important, but basketball is a business, first and foremost. Fans should see that there was no reason to spend money this summer and go well into the luxury tax for a free-agent class of players that wouldn't have put the Bulls over the top in Rose's absence or upon his return.
That's smart business.