What’s With All These Secret Extensions!? And Other Bulls Bullets
Two seasons after winning the NBA Finals and weeks after finishing the year with the best regular season record, the Milwaukee Bucks kicked Mike Budenholzer to the curb. And, to be honest, I’m not all that surprised.
Tough decisions are always going to follow when an organization loses to a No. 8 seed in five games. This is especially true when your team blows double-digit leads in both Game 4 and Game 5.
- Let’s also not forget that Budenholzer’s job was seemingly on the line before the team won the NBA Finals in 2021. If the franchise had squandered their chance at the Larry O’Brien Trophy, there is a good chance he would have been shown the door. Still, firing someone who has found as much success as Budenholzer has in Milwaukee is always a risk. And he now joins both Frank Vogel and Nick Nurse as free-agent coaches with a recent ring on their finger. In fact, his release means that three of the past four championship-winning coaches are currently without a job.
- In some ways, I wish that the Chicago Bulls held themselves to as high of a standard as these other organizations. In other words, I wish they didn’t hand extensions to their head coach after one measly five-game playoff exit! Let me make it absolutely clear that I don’t think Billy Donovan should be fired right now. While he undoubtedly deserves blame for how this season panned out, I think it’s almost more an indictment of how poorly the roster was built by the front office. But what I do think is that Donovan – nor anyone, for that matter – has earned longer-term security.
- Donovan originally signed a four-year deal with the franchise ahead of the 2020-21 season. This means the final year of this original contract wouldn’t be until next season. So the Bulls opted to hand him an extension – one that The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported as adding “several years” to the original deal – after his SECOND season. Why!? Don’t you need more proof!? Not to mention, set a higher bar for everyone than a non-competitive first-round exit!
- Also, it wasn’t just Donovan who received the kind of support that not even championship-winning personnel can receive. We learned a few months back that practically his entire coaching staff and several front office members were handed fresh contracts, per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry also reported on Thursday that Arturas Karnisovas was, in fact, one of those people to put pen to paper:
- As mad as the actual extensions make me for a franchise that has proven nothing, it’s the secrecy that really sets me off. If you have that much faith in these people, why not support them publically? Why not publish a few 100 words in a press release to explain why the decision was made? At the end of the day, this is why the previous regime fell into the trap of settling for mediocrity. I’m not saying that people need to feel like their job is on the line – that also doesn’t create a very healthy work environment. But there shouldn’t be handouts for doing the bare minimum. Whether it’s conscious or not, that is telling people that low expectations are acceptable expectations.
- Sorry to pile on, but the secret extensions only make that much more sense when we read Jerry Reinsdorf’s comments from earlier this week …
- The Athletic’s John Hollinger name-dropped the Bulls when addressing possible landing spots for Dillon Brooks. To be clear, he wasn’t reporting an actual connection but rather pointing out an on-paper fit. And, as I stated in our original post about Brooks, I have to agree. There are a handful of teams around the league that can use a talented wing defender with a streak 3-point shot, and the Bulls are surely one of those teams. With that said, the last thing the Bulls should do is drop too much money on adding him into the mix. Brooks feels more like the last piece of a puzzle to a championship contender than someone the Bulls should strongly consider in their “retooling.”
- Patrick Williams is still really freakin’ young!
- More recent thoughts on Williams’ future …
- The Warriors punched the Lakers in the mouth last night.
- That’s a lot of rookies!
- That’s a good thing, right!?