One of the hardest things to understand about the Chicago Bulls over the past 20 years is how awful they’ve been at convincing top NBA stars to sign there. One would think with their legacy and presence in a top media market, they’d make for an attractive destination. Yet routinely the big names seem to hear their offers and move along elsewhere. Former All-Star B.J. Armstrong watched it happen many times.
Most people chalk it up to a couple of factors. The front office being horrific at putting together an attractive proposal. Not having a respected head coach. Or simply being too cheap to offer the kind of money necessary to make it happen. Armstrong has heard them all but doesn’t think they are the real reason why Chicago can’t seem to close the deal so many times.
It’s much simpler than that as he told Tiki and Tierey for CBS Sports Radio.
“Players want to play with other players, and right now, Chicago has young, developing talent,” Armstrong said. “Zach LaVine is certainly one of those players. I thought Coby White showed signs this year. It’s funny: when you get a great player, they’ll come play anywhere. They’ll come play in Cleveland. They’ll come play in Milwaukee. The narrative changes when you have a great player playing in any place.
“Until that happens, Chicago is a great market, we certainly see the potential and we know what it could be when you have players like Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan,” Armstrong continued. “It’s funny how that works out when people just want to come and do what they have to do to really play alongside another great player.”
Chicago Bulls had one great player since end of Jordan era
This is the problem for the Bulls. They’ve had one truly great player in the past 20 years. That was Derrick Rose. At his peak in 2010-2011, he was absolutely the type of draw that free agents considered enticing. It’s why Chicago came so close to nabbing Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that season. Sadly LeBron James’ beef with Joakim Noah made that too much of a challenge.
Then Rose tore his ACL and was never the same. Jimmy Butler was a really good player but he’s never quite been a true superstar. The Bulls have tried finding that next centerpiece ever since. Zach Lavine is a good scorer but isn’t worth much beyond that. Coby White is probably their biggest hope. He has the capability to reach that peak and his rookie year offered glimpses of that.
Until that time, they must continue trying to find their answers via the draft or perhaps a craft trade.