The Chicago Bulls are not in a good place. They are now outside the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture, with a rotation that continues to lack shooting and consistency.
Dwyane Wade, who signed with the Bulls for the money and a chance to make some noise in the East, is naturally not happy. Well, actually, we can’t say not happy. He’s confused, just like the rest of us, per CSN Chicago’s Vincent Ellis:
But with the objective being as such, they feel pretty powerless to the inevitability of things as they seem destined for a lottery appearance they don’t want.
“Yes,” Wade said when asked if it’s hard to play 12 during a game. “But we’re players. It’s tough because guys don’t know how many minutes they’re gonna play. Mentally it’s tough. You got younger guys, it’s hard to bring them back. You stick with it. No matter who coach puts out there on the floor. He’s trying to figure it out as well.”
“Guys in the locker room are fine. Some guys don’t know when they’re gonna play, some guys don’t know how much so it could be a little challenging. Especially young guys, when you’re trying to develop mental toughness, it could be tough. It’s the hand we’re dealt and we gotta find a way to play it.”
Wade owns a player option for next season, so he can bolt if he wants. He’ll be leaving $23.8 million on the table, but he should be able to recoup that over a two-year deal with another team. That, or he can officially enter ring-chasing mode, taking a massive pay cut to play for a title favorite.
The Bulls, meanwhile, seem to be leaning toward rebuilding. Maybe. We think. Head coach Fred Hoiberg is playing anyone and everyone not named Nikola Mirotic, and the trade Chicago made at the deadline for Cameron Payne was emblematic of a team changing course.
So long as they have Jimmy Butler, of course, the Bulls will be expected to chase wins. But they haven’t given Hoiberg the personnel he needs to implement the offense he was hired to install, and the defense isn’t good enough to carry them. A lottery berth at this points seems like an unavoidable conclusion to a season run afoul.