The Chicago Bulls have finally started their rebuild process. However, veteran guard Dwyane Wade remains in a Bulls’ uniform.
Why it doesn’t make sense
After sending away star guard Jimmy Butler at the 2017 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls appeared ready to start over. While the trade that sent Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves wasn’t the most ideal, Bulls fans got the message that the rebuild is finally here.
In addition to trading away Butler, the Bulls let guard Rajon Rondo head out to the New Orleans Pelicans in free agency. These two moves alone signified that the Bulls days as a mediocre side are finished.
However, the Bulls still have one loophole on their roster. Chicago native Dwyane Wade remains on the team despite being only one of two players over the age of 30 on the Bulls roster.
Wade and Anthony Morrow are the only players above 30. However, Morrow’s contract gives him roughly 10 percent of what Wade’s contract gives him. After accepting his player option for the 2017-18 season, Wade will earn just under $24 million this season.
Even after a respectable 2016-17 campaign, this amount of money for a 35-year-old is simply too high. There are plenty of other ways that the Bulls’ front office could spend $24 million.
While the front office has constantly stated that there will be no buyout between Wade and the Bulls, we can still speculate (and hope). According to Bulls reporter K.C. Johnson, the front office views Wade’s leadership as the reason for keeping him in Chicago.
And this has been stated publicly by management but Bulls need at least some veteran presence. So no plans for Wade buyout as of now.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 30, 2017
However, I take this as code for something bigger. If you need veteran leadership, you can go out and sign one that doesn’t cost you $24 million. There were plenty of veteran free agents that the Bulls could have signed last month.
There were rumors swirling around Chicago that former MVP Derrick Rose would make his return to his hometown. While Rose is certainly not playing at the level he once did, I would have been ok with this move. You would bring back a known face across the organization and a fan favorite.
Rose moved from the New York Knicks to the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-year, $2 million deal. The Cavaliers have had a rather tumultuous offseason, but they could come out with a bargain here. Rose is more than capable of being a serviceable backup guard.
Let’s just thrown aside the whole veteran leadership scheme.
It’s no surprise that when a team rebuilds, they let go of their household names. For example, when the Philadelphia 76ers began their “process”, they sent star guard Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets.
The Bulls are not in an ideal situation to trade Wade given his contract, but the thought process should be the same. You are either committed to a full on rebuild or you are not. You shouldn’t be striving to land the seventh pick in the draft if you are in a rebuild.
If Wade remains on the roster this season, the Bulls will not be the worst team in the league. Of course, there is the possibility that they could land the No.1 pick but their chances decrease as their wins go up. The way the starting lineup is shaping up, the Bulls should still be a 25+ win team.
The only positive that I can see from landing a strong first round pick and not a top three pick is that the Bulls could get back into the winning mode quicker. However, it makes more sense to just go all in on the tanking process and try to land the No.1 pick in the 2018 draft.
I am all in on this rebuild. I’m happy to see that the Chicago Bulls realized they will never get past LeBron, Boston and Toronto. It’s also fair to assume that a majority of the Bulls fanbase is ok with the process. The Bulls have been stuck in a pile of mediocrity for the past three years, and haven’t been a true threat to make the NBA Finals since the 2011-12 season.
They have picked a great time to start the rebuilding process. There are going to be quite a few generational players heading to the NBA in the next few drafts, including the 2017 No.1 overall prospect Michael Porter Jr.
Let’s just hope we don’t hear “Another one bites the dust” too much this season.