coldfish wrote:If not for Dolan, Jerry defenders would have nothing to hang their hat on. Its to the point where its a reflex move. Complaint about Jerry ----> "What about Dolan?"
I almost dare someone to defend Jerry without mentioning Dolan.
Easy. He's had well above average results on the court. 6 rings. 2 different executives of the year. A bunch of financial championships, so to speak.
Outside of him, there are multiple free spending owners who have won with it. GS, Miami, Cleveland, LA, etc.
If these teams are "free spending", how did they have the money to sign all the high level free agents that won them their titles? It's because they weren't free spending, UNTIL after they had their cores and it made sense. Criticizing Bulls management for not putting together the right cores to then justify spending big on the supporting casts is perfectly reasonable. I'm not sure I've ever thought the Bulls had an elite FO team (though it's clearly not an outright bad FO team IMO).
Toronto has had 6 years of 48 wins or more and never tanked for capspace. They made trades and kept improving their team and finally won.
I don't quite have time to look up their whole history, but it's worth noting that NBA players don't perceive Toronto to be a desirable place to play historically, so of course they didn't tank for cap space. They did what about 20+ teams should be doing. The Bulls are in the other 6-10 teams who should be, and typically (and increasingly) do strive for, which is to lean more on free agency. The teams that should be doing this are roughly GS, both LA teams, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Chicago, and NY. They have inherent advantages vs the other 20+ teams.
What moves did GS or Miami make that were inherently risky, big spending moves? I'd argue all they did was spend incrementally to ENSURE they would win the titles AFTER it was already pretty clear they had a great shot.
Cleveland might have done that (paying guys like Tristan Thompson, JR Smith and Iman Shumpert big money). Now, perhaps those guys were needed to get the one ring. Perhaps they weren't. But it's equally plausible that those bloated deals and the fixed position that they put the franchise in actually prevented more titles because they contributed to Lebron being unhappy and leaving cause there was no hope for improvement. Roster bloating has real on the court risks to the team product IMO.
Obviously you have to be smart and competent to win in the NBA. That's a given. You also have to take risks financially. All of the Jerry defenses are effectively strawmen. There are a grand total of ZERO people advocating that the Bulls just give out a bunch of bad contracts and go from there.
True, they don't call them bad contracts because they don't identify them, but typically what are available to ramp up spending do in fact amount to bad contracts. NBA teams haven't been giving away good contracts in trade for financial reasons for well over a decade. What are typically available means to ramp up spending are basically:
A. bad contracts for once good players who will now play on your bench in exchange for expiring deals and mediocre young players
B. spending as much as you can on cap exceptions, which isn't much under the rules and is limited annually pretty substantially
Let's pretend, for example, that the Bulls could and should "spend freely" THIS SEASON to improve their team considerably. That is effectively the narrative people are pushing even if they don't realize it. What EXACTLY could/should they have done differently? I'd argue that the Bulls have put together a roster, that, IF it works out over the next couple years (it probably won't as plans don't work out in the competitive NBA landscape), will require high spending to keep together. If that happens and they let it deteriorate due to not spending freely, I'll agree with the Jerry critics. IMO that hasn't ever happened. Since the dynasty, which was paid for heavily, and successfully, there have been a grand total of three offseasons where the Bulls were good enough to justify high spending to improve their legit contention chances. They were, and I'm being generous here:
1. 2007 offseason following 2nd round apperance. Team was capped out. Signed Joe Smith to full MLE deal and re-signed quality backup Nocioni to long term extension DESPITE having 2nd team all defense Ben Wallace, second year #2 overall draft pick Tyrus Thomas, young up and coming star Luol Deng and rookie yet seasoned (ready) lottery pick Joakim Noah all ready for plenty of front court minutes. They could easily have not signed Smith. IF you have a specific trade in mind that could and should have been done to ramp up spending EVEN MORE instead, I'm all ears.
2. 2011 offseason following ECF loss with a young core of Rose, Deng and Noah. Bulls spend full MLE and go into luxury tax for a percevied marginal upgrade at SG in RIP over Brewer and Korver, who remained with the team. They also, like with Nocioni, re-signed high quality backup Taj Gibson to a substantial long term deal despite having Noah and Boozer and Deng locked up long term and ASik under contract. Again, if there was a specific trade they could and should have done to ramp up spending EVEN MORE, I'm all ears.
3. 2015 offseason following 2nd round competitive loss to Miami. Signed Jimmy Butler to max contract extension. Re-signed Mike Dunleavy to multi year deal (I believe using the full MLE, or maybe splitting it with Aaron Brooks who was also re-signed to a higher salary - neither would have had bird rights to keep without the MLE being used). Again, perhaps there were trades available to ramp up even more, but worth noting that this team didn't even make the playoffs the following year (due to the terrible YET VERY EXPENSIVE coaching "upgrade" that they did this offseason).
It's well worth noting, and this is a primary issue thing here despite me mentioning it last, that the Bulls very clearly and very publicly value both flexibility and continuity. Which is very tricky, because these things usually work as opposite forces. So the Bulls almost never make mid-season trade (which screws with continuity/chemistry) unless things are going very badly. BUT, the type of trades people theoretically want, where you trade roughly equal expiring salaries of low quality players for a higher quality similar salary that lasts much longer, ARE NOT AVAILABLE in offseasons typically. Those are generally trades teams make once they realize they miscalcuated, and the Bulls tend to not get into them, with the notable exception of when continuity/chemistry was no concern, otherwise known as the recent Otto Porter trade.