In late March, as the Bulls were fighting their way into the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a late-season surge, ESPN released their rankings of NBA owners from best to worst. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf came in at 23rd on that list, which seemed fair. Sure, Reinsdorf has looked like an absentee owner at the United Center in recent years as he defers to his son Michael and their front office duo of Gar Forman and John Paxson. But there are definitely several owners elsewhere around the league who are proactively doing worse damage to their franchises than Jerry’s disinterest and inactivity has hurt the Bulls.
Fast forward a few months, and the basketball website HoopsHype just released their own NBA ownership rankings. These rankings, however, were not done by a panel of NBA analysts. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing ranking that allows fans to vote owners higher or lower than their current position. Right now Reinsdorf sits in 28th place, only higher than Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Knicks owner James Dolan.
Gilbert and Dolan surely deserve to hold the bottom two spots. The Cavs owner is getting buried from all sides as his organization endures a chaotic and unfruitful offseason. Without purposefully offending Derrick Rose, Cleveland hasn’t gotten any better while the defending champion Warriors managed to bring back all important pieces of last season’s roster and even added a few useful veterans. Not only that, Gilbert fired his GM mere hours away from the NBA draft, which likely cost them decent chances at orchestrating draft night trades for Jimmy Butler or Paul George. And Dolan’s Knicks? They’re a dumpster fire. At least the Cavs look to be the East favorites to get back to the Finals this season, with or without a disgruntled Kyrie Irving. The Knicks are going nowhere fast, and it falls mostly on Dolan.
Jerry Doesn’t Care
As for Reinsdorf, he might be getting a slightly unfair deal on these rankings. I’d put Kings owner Vivek Ranadive below Jerry despite Sacramento’s promising haul on draft night. If Bulls fans think the Butler deal with Minnesota was bad, go back and research exactly how the DeMarcus Cousins trade went down. Ranadive couldn’t have played that any worse than he did. I think Mikhail Prokhorov deserves to be below Reinsdorf too. The Nets are a mess, and his excessive spending (both financially and with trade assets) has dug that franchise a seemingly insurmountable hole. Said excessive spending on aging veterans made Brooklyn nothing more than a brief playoff afterthought.
Still, Bulls fans know all too well that this is Jerry’s stepchild. He doesn’t love the Bulls like he loves his White Sox. Both teams are going through “rebuilds” this year, but the White Sox are furiously collecting ace prospects for their farm system. That rebuild – assuming said prospects stay healthy – is going to work. It’s still early, but thus far the Bulls rebuild doesn’t look nearly as promising. In his final years, Reinsdorf would much rather see the White Sox get back to World Series contention than see the Bulls pull it together. He already has 6 rings from the ’90s dynasty. What he wants more than anything is another White Sox winner before he goes the way of the dodo.
It’s an annoying truth for Chicagoans who care more about the Bulls than the Sox, but it’s a truth nonetheless. And Jerry’s indifference is enough to rank him near the bottom tier of NBA owners.
What do you think? Is 28 too high or too low for Reinsdorf’s ranking among other NBA owners? Click here to cast your vote!