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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to give some organization to these Bulls history over the last five years or so to pick out the common threads. Where did we fail before? If we understand that, maybe we won't do it again.

The problem is, we seem to have failed each time in different ways :). I don't know if there really are any common threads, so I'm just going to post kind of a narrative and see if anyone comes up with some lessons out of it.

First Year, we spent a year in limbo with Kukoc, Brent Barry, and Ron Harper as our main players, basically in an effort to free up cap room and get a high pick. Of course, we were really trying to free up cap room not for the offseason, but for the second off season beyond that. Talk about sacrifices... we sacrificed not one but TWO freaking seasons just to target a single free agent class.

In the offseason, we realized that signing Brent Barry to a long-term deal when the ultimate goal was cap room was a dumb move, and we traded him off for an expiring contract attached to a used up player (Hersey Hawkins). Barry, while he was here, looked like what he was... a good player, probably a third or fourth option on a top-notch team but overmatched as the top player on a team. Despite being overmatched, he was still better than the guy he was replaced with, and it was interesting to note how quickly we reversed field and how it seemed that the plan changed- We sign Barry to a long-term deal, and then dump him the next year.

We brought in Will Perdue on a 1 year deal for like $4M mainly in an effort to get above the league minimum in salary. at this point, no one could have really thought Will was worth this- we just paid him more because we thought he was a good guy and we'd rather pay a good guy than a guy who might play pretty well.

In the draft, we got two very solid looking rookies- Elton Brand, the co-rookie of the year, and Ron Artest, who looked like a rookie, but one with a future.

So we played out the second year, trading Kukoc in mid-stream to further shed salary and "get younger". We had the option to take Larry Hughes or Golden State's draft pick, which we opted for. Our winning pct. went down significantly.

Now we were finally in position to spend all that free agent money. We ended up blowing it. McGrady turned us down. Grant Hill turned us down. Tim Thomas agreed to a $67M deal, then pulled out and went to the Bucks. Eddie Jones turned us down, and Glen Rice turned us down. We ended up with Ron Mercer at $7M per annun and Brad Miller at somewhat less. In the draft we added another PF, Marcus Fizer, and Jamal Crawford, a combo guard pretty much straight out of high school. We made a trade for Bryce Drew.

In the third year, on court, our team was younger than ever and our winning pct. was lower than ever. Miller was out of shape. Fizer couldn't play SF, and Brand couldn't play C, so they couldn't play together. Drew was awful at best and Jamal was nowhere near ready to contribute. Mercer was pretty much the only guy that could be described as a "veteran" player, and he was still only 2 or 3 years out of college.

Now in the offseason, Krause apparently concluded that we weren't going to win with young players at every position, so the optimal decision was to trade the maturing Brand for high schooler Tyson Chandler and then draft High Schooler Eddy Curry. That way we wouldn't risk Brand not re-signing, even if the CBA rules stacked the deck in favor of re-signing players and he wasn't due to be an RFA for two more seasons.

Thus, we lost our best player and replaced him with two guys who weren't ready to play. Miller was in better shape but Crawford and Artest both got hurt, making the net effect that we were even younger, less experienced, and less ready to play, despite the addition of two veterans- an over the hill Charles Oakley and a journeyman Kevin Ollie. We added Eddie Robinson for a big price and he contributed nothing at all.

And that's what happened... we played even worse. Mercer missed significant time, and in light of that and the absence of Artest and Crawford, we were downright putrid. Floyd quit, replaced with Cartwright. About the same time, we got back Artest and Mercer, and we improved a bit although we were still bad.

Then the big trade... we decided we needed more veteran presense and "a big name", so we traded Miller, Mercer, Artest, and Ollie... basically four of our five starters at the time, for Jalen Rose and Travis Best. It's true Rose was better, and Best probably too, but not good enough to offset the overall talent at different positions that left where he had to play Curry, Chandler, and Crawford, none of whom could contribute consistently. The net effect was basically nothing (in terms of winning percentage) and a net loss of depth.

Going into the fifth season, we let go of veteran Travis Best because we drafted Rookie Jay Williams. We did sign veteran PF/SF Donyell Marshall however.

In the fifth season, Jay made an immediate impact, if not a superstar impact, he was at least decent until 2003 started. Rose and Marshall gave us our most veteran group since the first year's combo of Barry, Harper, and Kukoc. Chandler, Crawford, and Curry all kind of took off after the All-Star Break. Fizer picked up before that, but tore his ACL. We had our best season in a while.

In the off-season, we lost Jay to a probably career ending injury, but added Hinrich, Gill, and Pippen.

Then we start off this (the sixth) season and stink up the joint. Chandler hasn't added strength and barely plays. Pip's knee goes quickly. Curry occasionally puts up big numbers but seems less consistent and less tough than the year prior. Crawford is inconsistent. Rose and Marshall look incredibly slow.

We trade the offensive minded Rose and Marshall for the defensive minded Antonio Davis and Jerome Williams. Two vets for two vets. Cartwright is fired and replaced with Scott Skiles. We still aren't very good, although our winning pct. seems a bit higher than before the trade.

So there we have it folks. Any consistent lessons to draw from that?
 

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Originally posted by <b>Mikedc</b>!
So there we have it folks. Any consistent lessons to draw from that?
We shouldn't give up on our young players yet...and these ridiculous trade threads need to stop!

BTW, very excellent post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not sure I see any by the way, but if I do, it's in general:

Observation:We consistently changed opinions on players. Brent Barry was good enough to be part of the long-run plan, then all of a sudden he wasn't. We wouldn't trade Kukoc for Eddie Jones (and Elden Campbell), but we would have been content a season later and we tried hard to sign Eddie jones with part of the money we freed up by trading Kukoc. We at first thought Miller, Brand, and Artest had bright futures, but we concluded they'd never be as bright as a guy like Rose already was.

Conclusion: We consistently mis-judged the way our talent would develop. In part, this could be because we consistently had too many talents at the beginning of the learning curve (where it's uncertain where they will end up), but it also speaks of a general failure on the Bulls part to develop an idea of where these guys will end up and have faith they were right.

Observation: We consistently underestimated the effects of continuity and veteran play. We had huge turnover in the role-playing positions, and we have been skewed to players who were either very young or very old, with little in the middle. We've been demonstrably better when we had more middle-aged players- Kukoc/Barry, Rose/Marshall, JYD/AD, but we've never really had more than two of these guys at once.

Conclusion: This has exacerbated the problems of evaluating talent. Putting even a couple of teenagers on court at once, let alone 3, is a recipe for failure. Teams need a nice mix, not all very young players and all very old players, with no solid, good middle aged players.
 

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Why did Krause's decisions become "We's" I know I had nothing to do with all the hideous decisions. If I was part of "we" we would be watching Brand, Artest, Battier, Miller all wearing Bulls uniforms.

Damn I would pay good money to watch a starting line up of Kirk, Ron, Battier, Brand and Miller.
 

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What I get from this is basically Krause, with the signing of TMac, would now be hailed as a genius. With one FA spurning us, it has left it's ugly mark on us for years. Also shows that the Brand trade set this organization back several years. The chain effect that resulted from that trade turned us from a team with a solid rebuilding effort into the LA Clippers.

As for lessons to be gained? I can't see a consistent pattern that can be applied league wide. The Pacers seem to be doing rather well with 3 former HSers on their team while the Clips decided to move away from that trend and seem to be better for it. Ironically, both teams fleeced the Bulls in major trades. Perhaps that's the lesson to be learned?

Our misjudgement for talent really had more to do with Krause and his biases. Artest was a pick that was out of the ordinary for him and he felt that Brand did not have what it took to carry us to the next level. He fell in love with JWill although there was no need for a PG and refused to trade either Jay or his golden boy Crawford for a legit SF. And this doesn't begin to touch on the idiotic choice to keep Fizer when it was very obvious that Brand was the PF.

And in regards to our need for solid middle-aged vets, I agree. We seem to be content on signing aging over the hill vets, but in the defense of the Bulls, there really has been a lack of those players that can be obtained at reasonable salaries in FA.

But in the end, I concur with LOB. We should be fielding a team of Brand, Artest, Miller, Battier, and Jamal right now instead of praying that EC wakes up and Chandler doesn't turn into Camby.
 

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Actually, I think a big problem with this organization is the duplication of draft picks. Within the last 5 years, how many PFs and PGs have we drafted in the first round???? Three lottery picks on PFs and three lottery picks on PGs. With this kind of inefficient drafting, is it any surprise that we find ourselves in this position? While other teams approach their weaknesses and fill those holes, our team consistently drafted to accumulate talent and then refuse to make intelligent trades with these picks. In retrospect, our own incompetence is to be blamed for our misfortunes.
 

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imo ur two biggest mistakes was the brand for chandler one and the miller, artest and others for jrose....those 2 set ur franchise way back
 

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Excellent chronology.

To those two big trades of Chandler for Brand and Artest, Miller for Rose, I still don't believe our team got set back, if were talking in terms of holding superstar talent at least. The guys we traded away are all great as 2nd options for playoff teams but they all seem to need great players around them to look good and are doing what they were doing for us, which leads me to notice one big trend I notice.

One big trend I notice is our ability to put our star players in positions of controversy against other players. In our those respective players seem to all fit into their teams well and aren't dealing with some kind of controversy (i.e. Brand vs. Fizer Ruffin, Artest vs. E-Rob, Mercer, Miller vs. Curry, Voskuhl). Perhaps this is a subtle hint about (Jamal vs. everyone), but then Eddy Curry screws up the pattern, and it looks like he would benefit from a little bit of controversy.

Maybe I'll add more later after I hit the damn books.
 

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It's easy now to blame Krause for doing this and not doing that. We all have to sit back and try to put ourselves in his shoes. At the time, it was obvious that the Rose/Artest deal was extremely good for us. Personally, I jumped up and down with happiness because of the trade. We needed a vereran scorer so badly so it was good. If i were Krause, i would have done the same thing. Dont' get me wrong, i hated the Brand trade. I was shocked. But again, I am a fan so i support whoever is on this team. Plus, Chandler has done his best.

So please people, stop blaming Krause. He is no longer a manager. He has been punished enough in the public and in the eyes of many players.
 

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Lesson to draw...Never ever divorce the franchise from the greatest player ever. Sure MJ could have stayed, but Bulls ownership/management weren't grateful for 6 rings. They should have done whatever it took to keep these exceptional individuals a part of this organization. These great peopl(MJ,Phil,Scottie) would have molded the new young talent.

I HATE JERRY KRAUSE!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another Observation: This wasn't really explicit in my earlier post, but does it seem that we've had a realtively injury prone set of teams over the last few seasons? I'd like to look it up compared to other teams, and maybe I'm just spoiled from seeing a guy like MJ for so long, but it seems to me we haven't been in that great of shape most of the time.

03/04: Chandler, Pippen, Curry have missed significant time.
02/03: Not many injuries, just Fizer and ERob somewhat.
01/02: Jamal's ACL, Artest and ERob were being counted on, and they were hurt. Mercer missed significant time.
00/01: Mercer missed 21 game, Brand and Hoiberg missed 8, Miller (who was fat and out of shape) missed 25, Fizer missed 10, Ruffin was continually breaking his fingers, Bryce Drew's back was all messed up.
99/00: Hoiberg missed most of the season, as did BJ and Hersey Hawkins. Randy Brown was continually hurt. Kukoc was hurt, then traded as soon as he got healthy
98/99: Harper and Barry both missed about 15 games, Brown missed 11 (out of only 50 that year)

I dunno... is that average? Even though most of those guys sucked, they were still counted on to be starters. Of course some injuries are just chance and bad luck, but could part of it be that we didn't know how to prepare ourselves and take care of ourselves on the court? Did Chip Schaefer do a better job than Fred Tedeschi does?

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I think the point that Spook and ELDRUHMAI raise isn't a bad one either. We picked Brand then Fizer, Miller then Curry, Jamal then Jay, Artest then we sign ERob... while there was some logic behind all of those moves, you can find some kind of logic to support almost anything :). Looking back a lot of it looks like second guessing and not thinking we made the right decision in the first place (of course, in some cases that might be true, but it's another pattern I've noticed). :)
 

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Good post Mike, it is very interesting to see such a detailed chronology of the teams moves. Of course most of us know what happened but it is easy sometimes to forget minor details. Really, one of the things that I think screwed us was the T-Mac situation. I firmly believe that the Bulls HAD a commitment at the very least from T-Macs agent. The Bulls made all sorts of moves to build around T-Mac and it seemed clear to me that they expected him perhaps a little more than they should. I believe that there was a wink and a nod deal in place and Mcgrady decided to back out at the last moment and it sort of gave everyone the shaft. Then we went to plan b and dealt Brand for Chandler etc... I still think it is too early to say on that move. I, personally, was against the Rose trade and the reasons seem clear now. And I remember hearing that Krause was heavily pressured into making that deal by Reinsdorf...he didn't want to do it. And I find that very easy to believe. At the end of the day Krause was right not to want to do it IMHO.

On the injuries, I don't exactly know what is going on. It seems the Bulls have had far too many injuries. ANd look at the conditionong of Brand as an example. He goes to the Clippers and all of the sudden he is in the best shape of his life. It seems to me that the Bulls are really not doing all they need to do to physically develop their players as they should. But thats alnost sacrildge considering who the Bulls have as trainer and strength coach...the best in the business. So I would have to lay the blame on that on the coaching staff not demanding that the players get fit.
 

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Ace, I agree with you in regards to TMac. TMac turning us down caused Krause to go from hero to goat. People want to talk about all the questionable moves that came after, but I contend that all those moves were a direct result of TMac not signing with us. Krause bet the bank on TMac and ultimately lost. Then he follows up by betting the bank with the HSers, and he eventually got fired for it. To think, if TMac only signed with us, we would all be singing praises to JK and Floyd would probably still be coaching here. We would undoubtedly be contending for the EC and all would be well in Bulls-land.

Oh well, life is a ***** at times. Ask Portland how Sam Bowie worked out for them. I only take solace in the fact that TMac probably made the worse decision as well.
 

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Originally posted by <b>ace20004u</b>!
Good post Mike, it is very interesting to see such a detailed chronology of the teams moves. Of course most of us know what happened but it is easy sometimes to forget minor details. Really, one of the things that I think screwed us was the T-Mac situation. I firmly believe that the Bulls HAD a commitment at the very least from T-Macs agent. The Bulls made all sorts of moves to build around T-Mac and it seemed clear to me that they expected him perhaps a little more than they should. I believe that there was a wink and a nod deal in place and Mcgrady decided to back out at the last moment and it sort of gave everyone the shaft. Then we went to plan b and dealt Brand for Chandler etc... I still think it is too early to say on that move. I, personally, was against the Rose trade and the reasons seem clear now. And I remember hearing that Krause was heavily pressured into making that deal by Reinsdorf...he didn't want to do it. And I find that very easy to believe. At the end of the day Krause was right not to want to do it IMHO.
What I reckon Krause was banking on with T-Mac was that Duncan and Hill would sign with Orlando. Orlando couldn't sign McGrady, Hill and Duncan. If they did, one what have had to take the MLE (unlikely). T-Mac first choice was Orlando, but if he couldn't go there, he wasn't going back to Toronto. So, Chicago was the next choice. But Duncan stayed with SA, and McGrady got to go to Orlando. So, IMO, if it wasn't for Duncan staying with the Spurs, McGrady would have been a Bull. Oh well, what can you do?
 

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Great post Mike

But if I can just add the failed Jermaine O'Neal trade that required our #4 and #7 picks instead if the #4 and #24 that Krause would not budge off

Anyone do Fiz and Jams for Jermaine ?

So .. let's assume

We ditched the triangle from the get go and we still do the Brand for either Chandler or Curry trade

Let's further assume we have mid lottery position at the end of 2001 where we take Jamal Tinsley and where we still would have thrown our money at ERob ( hey it seemed a good idea at the time )

Let's further assume we were on the edge of the playoffs that year in 2002 and we take Fred Jones in the middle of the 1st round and we still sign Donyell for the MLE

We would have been in the 15 - 20 spot last draft where we could have picked up Troy Bell

Our team could have looked a hell of a lot like the Indiana Pacers



Miller
O'Neal
Artest
Mercer
Tinsley

bench

Curry
Marshall
Robinson
F.Jones
Kevin Ollie

Lonny Baxter
Trent Hassell
Troy Bell



And the thing of it is with what these players get paid currently we never would have had any luxury tax concerns or resigning concerns since we would have been a winning side and we had their bird rights anyway

This team would have cost around $49M - never breaching the dreaded L Tax limits that panicked the poo out of everyone the last couple of years

Replace Mercer with Brent Barry this summer

Anyone think that team could be a true EC contender for a long long time
 

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Originally posted by <b>sp00k</b>!
To think, if TMac only signed with us, we would all be singing praises to JK and Floyd would probably still be coaching here. We would undoubtedly be contending for the EC and all would be well in Bulls-land.
Just like in Orlando, right?
 

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Originally posted by <b>Kneepad</b>!

Just like in Orlando, right?
see, it's a tricky thing. I don't agree with people who say, "if only we had Miller, Artest and Brand, we'd be a 50 win team." We HAD those guys and we sucked worse than we do now. That's why they all eventually got moved. We did pull the plug too early, especially on Artest (though he is still a risk today), but to say that we would certainly be contenders is pure hindsight - who knows if those guys would be who they are today if they'd been stuck here in the clutches of losing.

as for the TMac question, this is where I deviate from my above statement. In theory, I think Brand, Artest, and Miller would have been FANTASTIC in support of a budding superstar like McGrady, even if they were still raw and "losers" at that point. Brand would have been a great unselfish #2 option, Artest would have allowed McGrady to rest on defense by guarding the other team's best player, and Miller would have been a very good high post center and post defender. Maybe Jamal could have rounded into form as that team's floor leader, but it might not have even mattered! Fizer perhaps could have been a solid 6th man as well.

the Brand, Artest and Miller we see today are FAR better than anything McGrady's gotten to play with in Orlando, and even if they hadn't developed quite as fully if they had remained here, they still look like a much better supporting cast. It seems like those pieces might have just fit.

just when I thought I'd gotten over McGrady's decision to go to DisneyWorld, I had to go and make this post :sigh:
 
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