As the NFL lockout dragged on, fans could at least take solace in watching an exciting Bulls squad while they whiled away the lockout hours.
Their playoff run, though ended by the Miami Heat, gave us a glimpse of the promising future that can happen as Derrick Rose and Co. continue to grow. Now that it's over, we're confronted with the very real possibility that the potential both the Bulls and the Bears have will be squelched by labor troubles.
It's already happening with the Bears. They made it to the NFC Championship game last season, but need to build on that success. They needed a full off-season with Jay Cutler to give him and the receivers more schooling on the Mike Martz scheme. They needed time with the offensive line to incorporate Gabe Carimi, and the defensive line could use practice as they bring in Stephen Paea.
But the Bears have been denied this crucial off-season because of the lockout. The same labor problems threaten the Bulls.
On June 30, the NBA's collective bargaining agreement will run out, and the players union and the owners are still far apart on negotiations. A salary cap, revenue sharing and guaranteed contracts are on the table, and few concessions are reportedly being made. A lockout is not just a possibility, but a likelihood.
That means Rose won't get to work out at the Berto Center. Rose, Joakim Noah, and Carlos Boozer would have to work out together without a coaches' supervision. No Thibs, no training staff, no Bulls involvement. This team, who has the potential to bring NBA championships back to Chicago, may be stopped in its tracks because of labor problems.
For a city that was amidst a good sports run, it turns out that the only thing that can stop us is not the Packers or the Heat. It's labor problems.