This offseason for the Chicago Bulls has been a frustrating one to stay the least. Bulls fans knew that this would be a financially constraining free agency period not being able to re-sign almost everyone from the Bench Mob — Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, and C.J. Watson all departed — and that getting capable replacements without going over the salary cap would be almost impossible. But what we don’t know are the specific stories behind the acquisition of our new players. Luckily for you, dear readers, I have the inside scoop.
Two years ago, Kirk Hinrich stood in front of the United Center with a suitcase in hand and a tear in his eye. After being with the team through the thick and thin (mostly thin) since 2003, he was sent off to Washington to clear way for Derrick Rose. However, he couldn’t help but think that he deserved a statue next to His Airness. Just picture a statue of Hinrich locking someone down on defense next to the majesty that is MJ’s flight. Only Hinrich himself had the ego to truly believe this could be the case. Nevertheless, two years passed, as Hinrich played with Washington and Atlanta, where he didn’t get nearly the same amount of love as he did in Chicago and consequently, Hinrich was driven into a deep depression. As he sat at a bar with a five o’clock shadow that could only be rivaled by the ensuing six o’clock, the phone rang, and low and behold it was Bulls GM Gar Forman. Hinrich held back tears of joy as the Gar requested his never wavering point guard services. “Play it cool, don’t sound too eager,” Hinrich thought to himself but he couldn’t contain his excitement any longer and blurted out a “Yes, I’ll do it! All I ask is a statue!” Gar started to question Kirk, but thought better of it and drew up the paperwork.
Meanwhile over in Italy, a man who played some big time minutes with the feeble New Orleans Hornets last year was sitting at a local Italian restaurant where he hadn’t moved since arriving back in April. Marco Belinelli ordered another plate of spaghetti (not realizing he was not in an Olive Garden and this pasta bowl wasn’t “never ending”) when his cell phone rang. It was Garfield the orange cartoon cat asking him to join the Chicago Bulls, but Marco explained he couldn’t talk with his mouth full and he honestly couldn’t communicate back without the use of his hands. So Gar flew him out to the Berto Center and they had a face to face conversation. Belinelli arrived and the front office was excited. The Bulls needed a shooter and that is exactly what Marco was capable of doing. The only thing Gar questioned him about was if he was in good shape. Marco muttered, “Round is a shape,” and went to the weight room where head coach Tom Thibodeau locked him away until the first preseason game, which is my only explanation for his poor shooting this preseason.
Over on the west coast, Golden State was looking to make some moves regarding two of their players who played decent minutes for the Warriors last year. The first was Nate Robinson. Now most people were thinking, “why do the Bulls need the little kid from the movie ‘Role Models’,” but the team had a hole at point guard that desperately needed to be filled. Captain Kirk is a good piece, but with Rose out until at least March, even Kirk couldn’t do it alone and former president James Garfield realized that he wasted his 1st round draft pick on a point guard who won’t be ready for a while. Nate was reading movie scripts when he got the call. Nate was ecstatic that he was actually going to be on a winning team for the first time in his career. “Things are looking up,” he thought. And things are looking up for Nate with a huge game against the Bucks last Tuesday (24 points, 13 assists).
Nate’s teammate Vladimir Radmanovic was back in the motherland during the offseason in a constant battle with shaving his beard. Just when he finished shaving one side of his face, the other side would be completely grown in again. Just as Radmanovic was about to shatter his bathroom mirror with his bare hands, his phone rang with the puppet Garfield Goose clapping his beak on the other side of the line. Vladimir quickly flew back to the states where he met with Tom Thibodeau and they discussed the upcoming season and the woes of the depleted Bench Mob. They discussed their off seasons and they shared similar tales of frustration as Tom Thibodeau’s physical transformation into John Madden is nearing completion. They bonded over the fact that they couldn’t control anything about their appearances and Gar quickly drew up a contract for Vlad.
Unlike the other free agents, Nazr Mohammad was involved in some heavy reading. Most of the heavy reading included Nazr going through the entire Webster’s Dictionary trying to find other words that featured the silent “r”. Much to his chagrin, he couldn’t find any, so to take a break from his research, he went to the Bulls’ workout facilities to shoot some hoops and clear his head. When he entered the building he was immediately offered a contract just for being over 7 feet tall, having the ability to catch a chest pass, and more importantly filling the void at the center position.
Is this a ragtag group? Yes. Is this bench worse than the bench we had last year? Definitely. Is this going to be a long season? Probably. Does Gar Forman really respond to these nicknames? Hopefully. Are there a lot of rhetorical questions in the opening of this paragraph? You bet. But I think that despite all of the doubt people have placed on this team, Thibodeau will coach this team to 50 wins, Luol Deng’s wrist will be questioned at least twice this year, Carlos Boozer will scream “AND ONE!” approximately 12,000 times, Joakim Noah will average 14 points a game, Rose will play this year and make an impact in the playoffs, and the bench will live up to their already low expectations. I cannot wait.