I am a Chicagoan, born and bred. I was born in the '70s, but I am a '80s kid. In my lifetime, I have witnessed every Chicago sports team but one—the Cubs—win a championship. My all-time favorite team, the Bulls, have won six. After their last championship in ‘98, I have had the displeasure of watching 14 years of misery and empty seasons.
Am I wrong for expecting more from my favorite team after 14 years of failure?
Some of you will get angry, but I stand by my feelings for expecting more.
Chicago is the third-largest sports market in the country, but too often their teams function with a small-market mentality.
How can you explain to me the Bulls' constant reluctance to go for the jugular? I keep hearing from fellow fans that the Bulls should stay the course.
Consider the cases for the two teams in larger markets.
Ask the fans of the Knicks about staying the course. How many titles have they won in 30 years? Not one. That does not stop the fans from coming down hard on the team. In the end, the Knicks are unafraid to take chances. Why do the Knicks take chances? The fans demand it, even if it does not translate into titles for the team.
What it does translate into is excitement.
Do you honestly think that their front office can get away with saying "we’re aiming to contend for a playoff spot?" Imagine the outrage from fans who have witnessed their team miss the playoffs only five times in Lakers history. They demand that their team always be in the hunt for the title.
The Lakers have nine titles in the same 30-year span.
Those are two examples of big-market teams doing what they feel is best for their franchise while appealing to their fans. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. The moves they make are daring, franchise-changing ones.
This is why watching the Bulls play it safe so far this offseason is aggravating.
The eventual signing of Kirk Hinrich, albeit a good move, is a safe one.
The Bulls are in a rare advantageous situation. They can retool on the fly while an injured Derrick Rose is rehabbing his ACL. There is no real need to evaluate players like Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, etc. We know what kind of players they are by now and so does the Bulls' management.
The Bulls can afford to bring in young, inexperienced talent. They must identify players who can develop into potential stars or, at the very least, solid contributors to a championship-caliber team.
I do not want to see a huge splash in free agency, just progress in a different direction. I want to see the Bulls do something bold much like the Knicks and Lakers would.
Acquiring Gerald Green in a sign-and-trade is an example of one move that can be made. Bringing in a young frontcourt player instead of a guy who is in the later stages of his career makes sense. It does in my humble opinion.
Sadly, I do not see any of these things happening. Being a Bulls fan for 30 years, I have a right to demand more. It is my prerogative to be realistic about our team.
Just because I admit to the flaws of our team does not make me less of a fan. Just as it does not make you more of a fan because you speak highly of them at all times.
E. Shepard: Chicago Bulls fan 30 years and counting.