After the Bulls signed guard Nate Robinson on July 31 to ostensibly fill the team's final bench spot, most assumed Chicago's offseason of bench turnover was finally finished.
Not so fast, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
After Nate Robinson signing, Bulls are either done or might add Tracy McGrady.— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 31, 2012
McGrady taking in some deep dish and heading to the Windy City is no new rumor, though. The two sides were linked before the 2011-12 season and Chicago was T-Mac's preferred destination (per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski).
The Bulls wound up passing on McGrady in 2011 and the small forward gallivanted his way to Atlanta to play for the Hawks.
But what would a T-Mac signing mean for the 2012-13 Bulls?
Well, quite frankly, the perfect culmination of the worst offseason for any top-tier NBA team.
Gone are C.J. Waton and John Lucas III, two vital guards who stood in well last season as Derrick Rose battled a myriad of injuries. In their place is Kirk Hinrich, who will start at point guard while Rose recovers from knee surgery, and Marquis Teague, the Bulls' first round pick in June's draft.
Gone is Omer Asik, perhaps the NBA's best bench big center and defensive menace in the middle. In his place is Nazr Muhammad, who is, well, tall and cheap.
Gone are Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver, two players whose efficiencies and deficiencies mirror each other almost perfectly. In their place are Marco Belinelli and Vladimir Radmanovic, two gunners who play defense in spirit only and know little beyond the three-point line on offense.
Essentially, say goodbye to the "Bench Mob" and hello to the...bench
If the team signs McGrady, who averaged 5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in a career-low 16.1 minutes per night last season, it would be the cherry on this horrible offseason sundae.
Chicago management spent the entire 2012 offseason systematically destroying best bench in the NBA and replacing it with one-year stopgaps, below average veterans and Nate Robinson, who is the team's only sound signing this offseason. And Robinson's signing is only commendable because he comes at the veteran's minimum.
But don't get me wrong, I understand the strategy behind Chicago's offseason.
Rose will be out until at least March, giving the team no shot at being serious contenders next season.
With the team still having the option of amnestying forward Carlos Boozer's contract, the Bulls could add a second superstar next summer. Had the team made any long-term commitments this offseason, it could have severely hampered their ability to bring that player in.
All an understandable way to run an organization.
But if the team is simply planning to fold next season, they shouldn't have been disingenuous about it. If you're going to tank, do it hard and get in the lottery.
Instead, what the Bulls signed is a cavalcade of mediocre players just good enough to take them out of the lottery and into a first round playoff defeat.
And, in the NBA, that's the worst place of all.