Friday, February 22, 2013

Reggie Rose is right, kinda

Having watched the Bulls get destroyed by the Heat last night, it's not hard to understand where Reggie Rose is coming from: even with a healthy Derrick Rose in the lineup, these Bulls don't really seem like they can beat the Heat, and that won't change until Bulls management adds a couple more pieces, or one legitimate all-star, to the roster.

It's not surprising, but it's still gratifying, to see some fire in the bellies of those closest to Chicago's most beloved athlete: Derrick Rose's window of greatness, like all superstars, is finite and closing, and wasting even a single season is tempting fate. So you want Derrick's older brother and manager to be itching for him to play, surrounded by the best lineup money can buy.

But you've also got to look at the big picture, in order to understand how that lineup can possibly come together. And for that, there are two key pieces of data to observe: first, that Derrick Rose - his game, his story, his personality, everything about him - is a once-in-a-generation Chicagoan. Somebody like him may never come again to this city or this league, and that means that as important as it is to have a sense of urgency, it's equally important to think about the arc of his entire career. The Bulls franchise is now built exclusively around him, and if he's not going to be at full capacity, there's no point in trying to make a run for a title this season. So it made sense to trade Omer Asik, and to not make any rash decisions before the trade deadline, and every decision John Paxson and Gar Forman make should be oriented to building a long-term championship team around their superstar.

The second interesting piece of data is the fact that the Bulls, for the first time in franchise history, are going to pay the luxury tax this season. Why now, why this lost season? I don't know quite what to make of this, though I suspect it's not entirely intentional - their biggest stars are playing on contracts probably too big to make them easily tradeable - but whatever the reason, if it indicates that the Bulls have gotten serious about paying for players, that plus the long view they're taking on Rose is ultimately a very good sign for the future. So calm down, Reggie.