Will the Lottery Gods Bless the Bulls? Chicago’s Luxury Tax Philosophy, and Other Bulls Bullets
On the one hand, I couldn’t be happier about what happened to the Blackhawks last night.
The ping pong balls landed in their favor and have now provided them with the opportunity to draft a generational talent in Connor Bedard at No. 1. Widely considered the best prospect since superstar Connor McDavid went first overall in 2015, the Blackhawks’ future has instantly become one of the brightest in the NHL.
On the other hand … how can I not feel even worse about the Chicago Bulls right now?
- This thrusts the Blackhawks back in front of the Bulls on the official list of “teams to be most optimistic about” in Chicago. Even more frustrating, all it took is one significant down year for the Blackhawks to land one of the best prospects of the last two decades! Again, as happy as I am as a Chicago fan, the Bulls fan in me is all kinds of jealous.
- But, hey, maybe the stars will align next week! Maybe the Bulls will join both the Bears and Blackhawks and give Chicago its third No. 1 overall pick of the year! Sure, there may only be a 1.8 percent chance of that occurring, but we’ve seen crazier things happen! Remember: The Bulls had just a 1.7 percent chance of landing Derrick Rose.
- Can I just rant for a bullet point or two about the luxury tax? Cool. So we all know the franchise has entered the tax ONCE in its existence, which is truly absurd when we consider Chicago is one of the top markets in the NBA and the entire sports world. Now, Michael Reinsdorf was given the opportunity to address this last season, telling NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson that if the organization was a title-contending team, the Bulls would “absolutely” pay the luxury tax. Here’s a snippet, but you can revisit Michael’s full comments to Johnson here.
“I think most people will tell you, ‘I don’t want to spend into the tax if we’re not competing for championships, if we’re not good enough,” Michael Resindorf said. “I don’t want to be the 8th seed or out of the playoffs and go into the luxury tax.’
“But when it comes to a team like this (the Bulls), and if we can take the necessary steps next year that allow us to compete for a championship, then for sure we’ll go into the tax. It’s part of the nature of the NBA.”
- Look, I get it. You shouldn’t pay the luxury tax just to pay the luxury tax. With that said, the Bulls’ approach to the whole thing seems to make little sense. Ownership says they’ll pay the bill if they are in a position to compete for a championship, but how do you truly get into a position to compete for a championship without paying the bill? Do you see what I’m saying? The only real way feels like drafting a superstar-caliber player and then spending whatever it takes to add the right pieces around him. However, the Bulls clearly aren’t taking that approach after offloading a ton of draft capital to build this current core.
- Instead, it seems like the Bulls’ plan was to build a title contender through trades and free agency. But aren’t they limiting their ability to do that by making the luxury tax a hard cap? I don’t know, man. At the end of the day, I believe ownership continues to have absolutely zero interest or plan to pay the luxury tax. While Michael’s comment might sound like the right thing, it really feels like a strategic way to continue dancing around the topic.
- I need to change subjects before I get too angry. So … the Los Angeles Lakers have the Golden State Warriors’ back against the wall. Last night’s 104-101 victory gave LeBron James and Co. a 3-1 lead as the series heads back to San Francisco. All things considered, the victory was an impressive and well-rounded effort by the Lakers, particularly when we consider what Lonnie Walker IV did off the bench. The role player came in and scored a massive 15 points in the 4th quarter on 6-9 shooting. Without his +8 performance to close things out, there is a very real possibility the series is tied right now.
- Schroder had some costly turnovers in this one, so he looked thrilled that Green made the biggest mistake of the night:
- Excuse me? Why the heck are we talking about whether Patrick Beverley will get a ring or not? Aren’t there still two more rounds to go?
- Jimmy G. Buckets is one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals. The dude is single-handedly dominating the East right now.
- I still can’t believe this is real life.