Amidst the excitement from football’s opening week (Go Bears), we are amazingly less than a month away from the Bulls’ first preseason game of their 2012/13 campaign. Before we move forward, we’ve decided to look back on our favorite “memes” & photoshops that helped narrate this past offseason. The images below attempt to shed some humor on a predominantly disappointing summer that featured Derrick Rose in rehab and the end of the Bench Mob amongst other questionable free agency decisions by the front office. Hopefully, the following compilation of our “greatest hits” induce more laughter rather than remind fans of the suffering.
The Bulls offseason of turmoil & reconstruction began with the Houston Rockets (outrageous) 3 year, $24 million offer to Omer Asik. Despite his defensive prowess, even the Turkish Hammer couldn’t believe the market value for a back-up center with hands of stone.
The overhaul of the most effective bench in the league continued with the departures of CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, and Kyle Korver. The front office’s decisions to waive or trade these teammates marked the official death of the Bench Mob, and we honor their memory with imaginary tombstones (not dramatic at all). The second unit is survived by only Taj Gibson who wonders if the financial savings is worth the $acrifice. We can only assume Gibson eventually poured out that bottle of hot sauce for his fallen homies.
Joe Johnson’s egregious contract of $20+ million per year was deemed “untradeable” in some circles and one of the worst in the history of sports. So when the Atlanta Hawks pulled off the impossible in a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, the internet was quick to characterize the transaction as the “death of the untradeable contract.” Carlos Boozer had his own reaction. We’ll see who’s still laughing when Boozer’s contract dies by amnesty in a couple years (Answer: Probably Boozer considering he would still get paid).
The acquisitions of Vladimir Radmanovic (Serbia) and Marco Belinelli (Italy) rounded out one of the more diverse rosters in the league, which may have just been Reinsdorf’s attempt to promote international harmony in the spirit of the Summer Olympics. While fans may not be that thrilled by the Bulls European additions, we remind you that we should be thankful that at least Darko Milicic isn’t our Serbian representative. The Bulls are now expected to play all home games at the United Nations Center.
The Bulls “reloaded” with the vertically challenged, but athletically gifted Nate Robinson. Robinson came off the free agency clearance rack not only as a veteran minimum signing, but also as a 2-for-1 eleventh man special. The undersized and energetic point guard from Golden State has the potential to fill the voids of last year’s fan favorites/cult heroes John Lucas III and Brian Scalabrine. We can already hear Stacey King gleefully christening Robinson as the “Mini Mamba” after he drains a garbage time 3-pointer to send everyone home with free Big Macs.
Joining the already exuberant Nate Robinson in the second string back-court is the allgedly goofy Marco Belinelli. To be honest, we don’t know much about the Italian sharpshooter other than he has some irrational confidence in his jumper and may compensate for his defensive shortcomings with his offensive versatility. He also earns bonus points for the unintentional comedy of his appreciation for hip hop music. While the odd couple of Marco & Nate may not be the next Shrek & Donkey, these two guards off the bench may be as entertaining off the court as they are productive on it.
Not only did a torn ACL prevent Derrick Rose from representing his country and pursuing an Olympic gold medal, it also deprived the Bulls’ superstar from the camaraderie and friendship of Team USA. While it’s difficult to imagine the introverted Rose socializing with adversaries turned teammates, his no-nonsense attitude would’ve meshed well with the wolfpack of one known as Kobe Bryant. Was the 2012 US Olympic Team a missed opportunity for Rose to plant seeds for the 2014 Plan? Probably not, but at least Kobe & Derrick would’ve been BFF… maybe? (Shouts to @GotEm_Coach for the original image).
We’ll call this our blanket meme to capture Joakim’s thoughts on any of the following: Being unable to play in the Olympics, Nic Batum’s groin punch, the death of the Bench Mob, and the Bulls’ offseason as a whole (Shouts to @jose3030 & #TBJ for the original images).
As predicted by us a month before the official announcement (no big deal), NBA2K13 will feature the original Dream Team along with the 2012 Olympic team so that gamers can hop into a virtual time machine to settle the (meaningless?) debate of which squad was better. However, the news didn’t come without controversy as Scottie Pippen was the only Dream Team member omitted from the original version. Rumors speculated that Pippen and the game developers could not reach a financial agreement, but we (Nillz) thinks the intent was to simply level the playing field for the Dream Team’s 2012 predecessors. Pippen did eventually agree to terms with NBA2K13 and Vegas appropriately restored the Dream Team as a 25-point favorite.
With the announcement of the Bulls’ 2012/13 schedule, fans likely circled the dates of marquee matchups against the Lakers & Heat. However, the Bulls’ first Christmas Day game in 15 years should not be overlooked. The holiday will feature Omer Asik’s first trip back to Chicago as an opposing player, and we suggest the Bulls promote the event with terrible puns.
Jay Z’s minority ownership in the Brooklyn Nets has undoubtedly influenced the re-imaging of the team, as reported in the New York Times – which of course got us thinking: Which Chicago-native celebrity would we like to see share duties with Jerry Reinsdorf? Naturally, we had to look (er, watch?) no farther than Hova’s “Throne” partner, Kanye West. In the unlikely event Kanye made ownership decisions for the Bulls, we’d assume that his first order of business would be to swag out the team’s uniforms with some Margiela warm-ups, Givenchy jerseys, kilt shorts, & team Air Yeezys.
Despite his credentials of consecutive best regular season records and 2010/11 coach of the year honors, Tom Thibodeau is still waiting on a contract extension from the Bulls. While negotiations with the head coach have stalled, the front office reportedly offered bench mascot & human victory cigar, Brian Scalabrine, an assistant coaching position. We put two and two together and feared the worst. Of course, Scalabrine later denied the Bulls and opted for retirement as a broadcaster – a strange disappointment only overshadowed by the concern that Thibs still remains without extension.
Before Adidas rolled out their promotional mini-series/documentary, we actually got our first glimpse of Derrick Rose in rehab with the image above… except we couldn’t tell if the former MVP was on vacation or in recovery.
The good news: Derrick Rose is back in the gym! The bad news: he’s relegated to stationary drills only (i.e. standstill dribbling and shooting), but we’re pretty sure he’d be an MVP candidate in that too. John Hollinger reports that Rose’s PER in stationary drills is 48.6 (not really).
Here we have an exclusive sneak-peak at #TheReturn’s epic conclusion, months in advance! We fully expect Rose to come back to the court this season a bit rusty and the Bulls to end their playoff run in the Eastern Conference semi-finals after uncharacteristic mistakes like this… but fear not, Bulls fans. Our gut tells us Rose will return in 2013/14 100% healthy and rejuvenated to lead the Bulls to the first of three straight titles. We’re also pretty sure he’ll film an animated movie with Bugs Bunny at some point during that stretch.Regardless of how you’ll remember this past offseason (awful? depressing? frustrating?), the fiscal responsibility and small market mindset of the front office will not go unnoticed! Therefore, we would like to award the Bulls with the 2013 NBA Financial Championship! In recognition of this honor, the team is rumored to be raising this banner on opening night. Then again, the Bulls are currently scheduled to pay the luxury tax this year for the first time in team history barring a Rip Hamilton trade… so maybe “congratulations” and a financial championship celebration in Grant Park is still premature.
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