Some Bulls fans I talk to seem at least a little nervous that this season's poor performance from their favorite team will have a negative impact on the wooing a big-time free agent this summer.
Take Thursday night's 29-point blowout loss to the Heat, for example. I'm sure there were more than a few Chicago fans that were petrified that such an embarrassing performance would leave a sour taste in Dwyane Wade's mouth. Heck, I heard a few of those fans voicing their displeasure behind me on press row. But, let me reiterate what I've been trying to tell people all year -- how the Bulls played Thursday night, and how the Bulls finish out this underwhelming, won't have much of an impact all on whether or not a top-tier free agent lands here this summer.
Don't believe me? Why don't you listen to Wade himself?
As his postgame media session wrapped up Thursday night, he was asked point blank if the Bulls' performance would have any kind of negative impact on what he decides to do this summer.
"Nothing," he said, not even feeling the need to elaborate. "Not at all."
This is the second time in a week that a major free-agent to be said that the Bulls' recent struggles would have no bearing on where they decided to play. Last Friday, it was LeBron James who was trying to explain the same thing.
"Derrick Rose, being a first-time All-Star this year, he's an unbelievable talent. Unfortunately, he has a wrist injury right now and their team has a lot of injuries," James said. "But I think Taj Gibson is a bright spot for those guys.Joakim Noah is a bright spot. Luol Deng...They have a lot of great pieces," he said of the Bulls. "And when they were all healthy they were playing great. Remember the West Coast trip that they had? They had an unbelievable West Coast trip when they were all healthy."
That's the key that free agents understand and have kept perspective on. The Bulls have been dealing with a lot of injuries all season. They haven't been completely healthy pretty much all year. While the team's roster certainly wasn't going to win a title this season, they were likely headed for a playoff spot before the injury bug bit.
"It's hard," James said of the health issues facing the Bulls. "When you have four guys out of the starting lineup, I don't know if any team can recover from that having four starters sitting out in the course of a season."
It looks as if they Bulls won't recover. With just 11 games left they came into Friday 2.5 games behind Toronto for the final playoff spot in the East. Still, forget any thought that their possible lottery inclusion is going to hamper them going forward. Players around the league know how good Rose is. They know how solid Noah and Gibson are becoming. They realize that the Bulls are only a piece or two away from being able to contend in the East. They know how great of a city is Chicago is and they definitely know that the organization has a lot of money to spend in the offseason.
All those factors are the ones they'll be considering when they decide where they want to spend the next part of their career, not the fact that the Bulls are on the verge of finishing a disappointing season a few games under .500.