chefo wrote:@League Circles
I'm with coldfish here because I also don't see what the fundamental basis of your argument is. We've had this discussion on the board every time an article came out and we've had to talk GarPax and Reinsdorf, and you seem to think that the Bulls are not unreasonably managed for profit at the expense of on court production, if I understand you correctly.
That's your take.
Sort of. I mostly only write these things to correct gross inaccuracies and add lots of needed context to shallow analysis. I don't believe in the notion of there being an amount of spending/profit that is reasonable, in the sense that I don't believe fans are owed anything. I do believe though, that the financial management of the Bulls doesn't meaningfully limit their title chances, and I believe analysis of the context that I provide supports that.
Other fans look at it from a different angle--by all accounts, the Bulls spent almost two decades being the NBA's financial champs, or runner-ups, almost year-in-and year-out. The owners of the club have had well in excess of a billion of profits to show for it. Capitalism at its finest. Kudos to them. They somehow keep fans engaged.
But that something has generally been decent enough to make the playoffs on a tight budget, while selling hope--which is precisely in the spirit of the quote in the OP. On the court, the Bulls have made one ECF appearance and a couple of semis, which for 20 years, and almost 4-5 distinct iterations of the team, is not quite what one can call a superior achievement.
I think there is no evidence to support the claim that the Bulls operate on a "tight budget". If they did, they wouldn't routinely, almost without a single excpetion, use every normal salary cap exception available to them other than imaginary trades which people pretend are common but are in fact rare, and they rarely ever make specific suggestions. Criticing the Bulls for not going into LT enough is like saying "they haven't had enough 10 rebound per game guys over the past 20 years" or "their pace isn't high enough (which is an absurdly ridiculous metric filled with at least 50% pure statistical noise)." It's an arbitrary metric.
I absolutely agree the Bulls have not had superior achievement in the last 20 years. Never said they have. They obviously haven't. They've basically been average, which is basically what I have been ranking the FO as for years now. I usually come in to defend against the extremists that claim the Bulls are "the worst managed team in sports" or "Garpax are the worst managers ever". Those claims are preposterous and not supported by any evidence, so I call them out as the emotional nonsense they are.
Since it is the fans that pay for the tickets, merchandise, ridiculously overpriced food and parking, cable subscriptions and everything else, it is not unreasonable for the fans to get upset when all they get is dysfunction and a crap product for years running, while the team is making new records of profitability. The Bulls have been selling crappy Chevys for Cadillac prices lately--good for the bottom line of the franchise, but not for the average paying customer because fans want on-court wins, not cash considerations for the ownership.
The fans BEGGED for the crap product, the tanking team. Not me though. It's an area where I think the organization has made many mistakes. I never would have made the Rose, Jimmy, or Niko trades, to name just a few. I've disagreed vocally with many moves in recent years and even way back to Pax's beginning. Though to be clear I do still think Pax is at least a bit above average as an executive. What I like is that I think luck has a lot to do with high level success (like JR lucking into MJ), and I think the FO and ownership are prudent enough to not radically screw up good luck when they get it.
At this point, we've had so many little nuggets of the Bulls' cheapness and management style that I'm not sure how somebody can defend their actions as a fan.
I reject the idea that we've seen many nuggets of cheapness. I think we've seen very, very few, and many, many more nuggets of spending a lot. Now I'm not suggesting that JR spends because he wants to win above finances. He spends on multiple coaches at a time, on the advocate center, on good teams, and on players he doesn't want for purposes of trade asset accumulation because he's smart enough to know that winning is highly, highly profitable. Managment style is a different discussion. I personally like the old style, tight lipped, **** the media style, but I can understand those who don't. This discussion is about financial willingness to invest to compete. I'm comfortable with it. I don't understand why those who aren't continue to be fans. Masochism, I guess.
Short of a Reinsdorf publicly coming out and saying something of that nature, on tape, this is as much evidence as any reasonable person would need to make a conclusion. Maybe it's just the dirty laundry being aired, but it sure stinks on a consistent basis. As a management consultant--hell yeah, I'd be a GarPax super-fan, if I'm a Bulls' shareholder--they should be lifers and have enough for a nice mansion in Florida when they retire, and I've mentioned as much before. They've been rock stars running a business.
But again, that's not the issue--I am a (paying) fan, so I don't care how much money the owners make. I care that the team, whether because of budget constraints, or ineptitude in some minor detail, or whatnot, has not been able to put a coherent product on the floor for quite some time...
What conclusion? That's the thing. People feel a need to make binary conclusions. They feel they have to conclude which singular priority JR has, whether the FO is terrible or great, etc etc. I feel no such need to draw binary conclusions. Ultimately this has been an unbelievably successful ownership under JR, and a very mediocre last 20 years. There is a lot of context needed to evaluate deeper than that, those are just the facts.
The Bulls have had an incoherent team for the past two seasons (to be clear, that's exactly how long it has been in bad shape) because the fan base outside of myself and some others absolutely, positively begged for us to tank to shoot for the moon. I regret that they did. I think it's going OK in it's execution so far and I'm excited about the potential this team has, but I think we'd have been better off not tanking.