Deng didn’t feel comfortable, so his agent arranged for an outside opinion. And suddenly that day-to-day injury the Bulls couldn’t believe would keep Deng out of action turned into a stress fracture serious enough to require months of rest to heal. Deng didn’t play again that season. He was eventually cleared for basketball activities in July. The Bulls said Deng wasn’t really injured, and told him to play. A different doctor — the correct doctor, in this case — told Deng he was really injured, and that he shouldn’t run, jump or cut on his leg for four months.
A very good read, quick but to the point. This kind of stuff has been going on pre-Thibs, and as much of a murderer via minutes he is, this is really a problem that goes all the way to the top.
Jerry Reinsdorf is the owner of a basketball team in the third-largest market, yet has managed to convince those within the organization, and certain members of the media, that Chicago is really a small-market team, living hand-to-mouth in the blue collar stockyards of the city. He’s managed to operate his checkbook to reflect that as well.
It’s why Tom Thibodeau is almost too perfect of a coach. He’s able to turn guys like Marquis Teague and Nazr Mohammed into real contributors during pivotal playoff games. He’s management’s ringmaster, whipping the lion until he jumps through the fiery hoop, and convincing the trapeze artists to flip and fly without a net to catch them. If you die (or ask for more money) you’re replaced by a cheaper, seemingly less-talented version of you, who will promptly play just as well, if not better, and is more dedicated than you, because they need it more.
I’m sure Tom Thibodeau would rather have Omer Asik instead of Nazr, but the twin heads of PaxGar, the guardians of the checkbook, gambled that Asik wasn’t worth the money, and lost. Nazr has been very good in the very limited minutes he’s received. Marco Belinelli has been essentially an upgrade from the 3-ball x-factor Kyle Korver.
But there’s an alternate universe out there. One where Jerry Reinsdorf has no problem paying to actually have a 15-man roster of good players, players who are paid their fair share. Good players who Thibs can make great, instead of mediocre players Thibs can work into creating moments of magic, band-aids that somehow keep the cracks in the dam from breaking overnight. Sure, players will get injured, but we won’t have to play Jimmy Butler 48 minutes to compensate for that. We won’t have to ask Nate Robinson to do his best Derrick Rose impression. In that universe, the Bulls might not have a championship, but the fans can trust the suits sitting in the nice skyboxes in the Madhouse on Madison to always do the right thing, and to always take care of their players.
Much like Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, I don’t know if I can trust them in this universe.