A day after their gruesome performance in Game 6 against the Celtics, Bulls players met individually with their bosses to discuss plans and expectations for the offseason.
It might be that some of them were encouraged to do a little traveling. To cross the pond, as they say. Any pond. And maybe never come back. There are professional basketball leagues all over.
It would’ve been my friendly suggestion, anyway.
It’s the Bucket List — 10 observations on the end of a sad, stultifying Bulls season:
1. At least the Bulls accomplished something no NBA team had in 12 years: winning the first two games of a series they’d eventually lose. Come to think of it, that’s not much of an accomplishment at all.
Raise your hand if you were suckered into believing, after Games 1 and 2 in Boston, that the Bulls would be moving on to the second round. Yeah, mine is in the air, too, which makes it more than a little difficult to keep typing. Boy, were we wrong. If the teams played six more times, the Bulls still wouldn’t get to four wins.
2. Jimmy Butler on if the Bulls, as currently constructed, are close to winning big: “I feel like we might be. I really can’t answer that for you.”
Translation: They’re closer than the Nets are.
3. One player who seems to give the Bulls a better shot at winning is veteran point guard Rajon Rondo. They won Games 1 and 2 with him and turned into the Washington Generals without him. The Bulls have him signed for next season, at $14 million, but can opt out of that deal by waiving him in the next couple of months.
Butler on Rondo: “I love playing with him.”
Coach Fred Hoiberg on Rondo: “I love everything about the kid.”
All that’s left is for the front office to figure out a way to leave everyone unhappy.
4. What is fake news? Any suggestion that the Bulls have a real point guard on the roster other than Rondo, who averaged 10 assists in the first two games before missing the rest of the series with a fractured right thumb.
In Games 3 through 6 — that’s four games, for those of you scoring at home — pretend point men Jerian Grant, Michael Carter-Williams and Isaiah Canaan had a total of 11 assists. Yes, combined. No, it’s not some kind of a sick joke.
5. The Bulls can’t blow it with Butler. Unless they’re cool with jettisoning one of the best tool sets, and one of the biggest hearts, in basketball. As Butler limps into the offseason, the Bulls’ brass should chase after him, thank him and ask — beg — for a fresh start.
6. As for 45-year-old Dwyane Wade — sorry, 35-year-old Dwyane Wade — if he comes back for the huge paychecks next season (who wouldn’t?), stays healthy (does he ever?) and works hard at mentoring young players (any chance at all?), OK, fine, we’ll take it.
But if he decides to “ring-chase,” as he put it, that’ll work, too.
7. Hoiberg on Nikola Mirotic’s defense: “I thought he made big strides. I thought he had growth at that end of the floor.”
Growth? Like a nasty fungus, maybe. Or an airborne disease. Whatever it was, it definitely was contagious. Either that or the Celtics are better offensively than the “Showtime” Lakers.
8. It’s not nice to boo the coach. But, yeah, Hoiberg pretty much deserved it. Celtics coach Brad Stevens was so much more clever with the X’s and O’s, he probably could’ve used Hoiberg’s face as a white board without Hoiberg even noticing.
Not to pick on Hoiberg, who hardly was dealt a winning hand by John Paxson and Gar Forman, but the season is over and still I picture him standing in front of an empty Bulls bench and futzing around with his rotation for the next few weeks.
9. You know the expression “That’s Cub”? Two words to sum up the absurdity of Grant starting Games 3 and 4, then not playing at all in Game 5 and being the last of all the Bulls to play in Game 6:
10. Am I the only one who watched video of Bears draftee Tarik Cohen — only 5-7 on a good day, but such an incredible athlete that he’s known as the “Human Joystick” — and thought: Is it too late to see if maybe he can stay in front of Isaiah Thomas?
Follow me on Twitter @SLGreenberg.