This summer marked the end of a long era in Chicago Bulls basketball. Since the beginning of the decade, the team and its championship hopes were built around center Joakim Noah and MVP winner Derrick Rose. Even when Jimmy Butler made it clear he was the best player on the team, Noah and Rose remained the stars of the show in many ways.
With both the center and the point guard departed to New York, Rose via trade and Noah via free agency, that era is officially in the past. It came as a surprise to some Bulls fans — but now team owner Jerry Reinsdorf has offered some insight into why the decision was made.
What we felt was it was time.
“We felt Joakim wasn’t going to be a frontline guy anymore. I was pretty confident that Pau (Gasol) was going to leave. So it was important for us to get the center in (Robin) Lopez. It was time for Derrick to go on and play someplace else and try to establish himself. Gar and Pax were high on the Grant kid (Jerian). We thought that was the necessary first step no matter how we were going to go.”
— Jerry Reinsdorf via The Chicago Tribune
While it was certainly sad for Bulls fans to see two players who brought the team so much success leave, it seems Reinsdorf has the right line of thinking here. Noah and Rose just had too many health issues and, frankly, too much baggage with the team to allow the franchise to move forward.
While the moves in a vacuum make a bit more sense now that we know the franchise’s motives, with the added context of the team’s later signings — mainly the additions of Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade — they become a little more confusing. Letting Noah and Rose go was an opportunity to get younger, cheaper, and healthier; to build around Jimmy Butler and be set for the future.
I don’t think the Wade and Rondo signings check off any of those goals — but hopefully it will make them better regardless.