When Derrick Rose was traded, I thought it was the end.
The end of a superstar era in Chicago.
The end of being considered an Eastern Conference playoff team every year.
The end of winning, even though most of it came in the regular season during Rose’s career.
Then, Chicago pulled off a fascinating move and signed Dwyane Wade for $47 million on a two year deal.
Haters will immediately point out his age, 34, his three-point percentage last season, .159 and the Bulls missing out on him back in 2010 when he decided to keep his talents in South Beach.
Truth of it is, none of that matters now. Wade has come home.
Calculate all the negatives you want, here’s the positive things the Wade signing did for the Bulls few people are considering.
#1. No longer a free agent urinal. The Chicago Bulls have failed on almost every single “big” free agent acquisition they’ve attempted in the last 10 years. Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and others have graciously chosen to skip the Windy City when they controlled their own destiny. The signing of Wade, and the trading of Rose, signify a new era for Chicago basketball. Come 2017, when their cap room opens up even more, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and others will now look at Chicago in an entirely different light.
They are now led by a three-time NBA champion and a 12-time All-Star.
#2. Fred Hoiberg’s crutch. It’s funny that the running joke in the media is that nobody will listen to Hoiberg and the team will now be ego-driven. Wade is not a selfish coach killer, he’s a veteran with the pedigree of a champion. When he chose Chicago, he knew that his influence on Hoiberg, and Butler, would play a huge role in everything the Bulls are trying to accomplish. Considering GarPax’s bromance with Hoiberg, you’d have to assume this relationship was a large part of their recruitment discussions. Expect their chemistry to surprise people.
#3. Marquette connection. Remember the rift between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose? Don’t expect that with Wade. Both alums from Marquette, both paid good money and both will play off each other to build their followings in Chicago. Wade will use the next few years to mentor Butler and show him what it’s like to be considered one of the best in the game. Butler obviously lacked this leadership when Rose was present, Wade will be the role model Butler needs to bring his game to the next level.
#4. Attitude. Chicago is a blue collar city, with a blue collar attitude. Tom Thibodeau and Joakim Noah reflected this the best on the hardwood and the city loved both of them for it. Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade are the definition of attitude. If Hoiberg can maximize the remaining talent in Wade and Rondo while continuing to grow Butler along the way, it could result in a tough Chicago team that lacked physical play for a large portion of last season, their first under the new coach. Hoiberg is a player’s coach, nicknamed “the Mayor”, now he has one of the most popular players in the league backing him. A confident coach, leading a confident team could result in a new style of toughness to combat the “small ball” the rest of the league is moving to.
#5. A mentor, and a winner. Doug McDermott is 24. Bobby Portis is 21. Nikola Mirotic is 25. Jimmy Butler is 26. They were previously led by Rose, an off-injured hometown hero with a PR team headed by his brother. Now they will be led by a NBA Finals MVP that’s arguably the most popular athlete to ever wear a uniform in Miami. In Wade’s career, the Heat missed the playoffs TWICE. Just TWICE. Hell, Rose had more knee surgeries than that in the last five years. He’s also played on Lebron’s team making him an instant asset for the Bulls, an Eastern Conference rival.
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#6. Fun to watch. With the rebuild apparently in full effect, few Bulls fans intended on actually watching the team next season. Now you add in Wade, everyone wants to see what this new “big 3” will amount to.
Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, banners hang forever.
Chicago needed a drastic culture change, what better way to do it than bringing in another hometown hero who has rings to show off to his teammates?
The Bulls definitely didn’t sign the 2010 version of Dwyane Wade, instead they signed a Future Hall of Famer, a mentor and an ambassador for the team and the city that they were lacking.
Expectations are high with a $47 million price tag, but Chicago is now in a much better position to succeed in the future. You want other free agents to come here, prove you can lure champions.
That’s exactly what Chicago did signing Wade. I BULLIEVE.