This episode of Triple Zeros starts by taking stock of the NBA Conference Finals, Jimmy Butler delivered on his promise. The Miami Heat took care of business in Game 3 versus Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics. Bam Adebayo and Jaylen Brown both had stellar performances on the evening. In the Western Conference Finals, the Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors just keep coming at Luka Docic and the Dallas Mavericks. Zach LaVine‘s future is becoming more of a debate than is comfortable. But are we just overreacting to the typical process of a first-time free agent?
On the NFL side, the Chicago Bears are starting to push back on narratives. Second-year quarterback Justin Fields came out in defense of his receiving corp. Will they catch some teams by surprise next season? Also, look for Robert Quinn to be a hot ticket item around the trade deadline. The Cleveland Browns took one option off of the board re-signing Jadeveon Clowney. The league also seems to be turning against Washington Commanders owner, Daniel Snyder. But will something actually be done, or is this just more posturing?
In this episode of Triple Zeros, Udonis Haslem let Jimmy Butler know exactly how what would happen if they had to come to blows during a recent Miami Heat loss. Any talk of the Memphis Grizzlies being better without Ja Morant because they have a great record (17-2) without him is missing the big picture. They’re also just flat-out wrong. Patrick Beverley has had more of a positive impact on Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves than a former teammate who is still bumping heads with people. Kyrie Irving stood firm and has outlasted what devolved into a war of words with politicians. The rest of the East (and maybe the NBA) should be on notice. It isn’t a surprise that the Los Angeles Lakers are guaranteed their first losing season in three years. It is disappointing, though.
On the NFL side, Tyreek Hill goes from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Miami Dolphins. He also made it very clear he wasn’t considering the New York Jets despite rumors. On top of that, there is some buzz that Tom Brady could try to force his way down to South Beach. This after his 40-day retirement brought him back to Tampa. Could a riff with head coach Bruce Arians be the reason? The Cleveland Browns introduced Deshaun Watson. It went just as you would expect with the focus now back on the league and any possible suspension. There may be some interest with soon-to-be former Browns QB Baker Mayfield. Still, teams are smart not to pony up draft capital just yet. That includes the Carolina Panthers who have also been linked to Arizona Cardinals passer Kyler Murray.
The Chicago Bulls have had zero players report their head coach the past two days. That might be more because of the team being in Mexico City ahead of tonight’s tilt against the 12-15 Orlando Magic. The game, the Bulls fifth under Jim Boylen, pits two teams with more drama and uncertainty than promise at this point, against each other. In the Bulls case, it has become like a dramedy with basketball as a backdrop.
Chicago Bulls Try to Turn it Around in Mexico City
A Sad Song
There have been numerous stories written on the turmoil the Bulls have put themselves through, including this one. It has become untenable and there are still 54 games left, including tonight. Will Boylen last the entire season with the team in such disarray? According to him, he was prepared for the “mutiny” from the players. If this has been what preparedness looks like, we need to redefine the word. His drill sergeant coaching style is rarely a popular one among professional athletes; not that it should be a popularity contest. The players still need to be willing to listen to the coach. That is not the case here.
Boylen says he views the San Antonio Spurs as the gold standard for how a team should operate. Not a bad organization to emulate. The issue is that this Bulls organization – run by John Paxson and Gar Forman – is not the Spurs. Boylen is not Pop. San Antonio built their well-respected image through years of being relevant. They won championships, drafted well and you always felt that they had a chance. Meanwhile, the thought of the Bulls organizationally incites thoughts of old Vince McMahon entrance music.
They might be able to argue they gave drafted well, a tenuous argument, but that will not be enough for a fanbase growing more fed up by the day. The problem is, as obvious as it may seem to those on the outside, there is almost no chance the embattled pairing of GarPax does not return next year. We have seen time and again from ownership, they are loyal to management to a fault. White Sox fans can attest to that. Perhaps the one change glimmer of hope is that the Sox might be about to return to relevance. In other words, even this owner wants to make changes after a while. When it will be is anyone’s guess.
If Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls seemed ill-fated, Boylen and the Bulls is D.O.A. It is a shame for any franchise with the history of the Bulls. They are taking advantage of a passionate and rabid fanbase, and have been for 15 years. Sure there have been ups – the Derrick Rose and short-lived Jimmy Butler era – but there has been a lot of mediocrity. After the last game, Kings players were overheard in the tunnels of the United Center, mocking the Bulls. Let that sink in. Chicago fans are left to hope their favorite team can be like the Kings. Ouch.