Reinsdorf sees Bulls as poised to improve

  • Jerry Reinsdorf

    Jerry Reinsdorf

Published: 1/14/2010 5:59 PM | Updated: 1/14/20 6:34 PM

So far, the Bulls are meeting the expectations of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

During an interview on Comcast SportsNet, Reinsdorf suggested the Bulls should make the playoffs this season. Through Wednesday's games, the Bulls were the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"I think we have built a roster where the core is pretty good," Reinsdorf said. "I really think this team certainly ought to be in the playoffs this year, and if you add one really outstanding player to it, I think we can go all the way."

The outstanding player would come in free agency, theoretically. The Bulls are hoping to have around $20 million to spend next summer, when several superstars will hit the open market. Among the players expected to be available are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire and Manu Ginobili.

Reinsdorf admitted the Bulls have compiled a wish list of players to target, in order, but refused to reveal any of it.

"I haven't the slightest idea (if the Bulls will get anyone) because we don't tamper, we follow the rules," Reinsdorf said. "So you don't know. We're not talking to anybody's agent surreptitiously. We're not talking to any of the players surreptitiously, so I don't know what any of these players think about us.

"But when July 1 comes, we're going to be out there doing our best to get one or two of the quality players. It's also possible that we'll make some trades and then take ourselves out of that market. I don't know what Gar Forman and John Paxson are going to do."

One advantage the Bulls have is three quality players under contract in Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah that might provide an attractive foundation to lure a free agent.

Reinsdorf seems to have learned from the mistakes of 2000, when the Bulls were coming off a 17-65 season, saved up plenty of cap space, but were turned down by Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Eddie Jones and Tim Thomas. They finally landed Ron Mercer and won 15 games in the ensuing season.

"We certainly want to have cap room to be a player in the free-agent market. But you're not going to attract free agent players to a bad team," he said. "So I think it's important for us to have as good a year as we possibly could have. No matter who you bring in, if you surround him with bad players, even if you convince him to come in, he's not going to take you where you need to be."

Wizards @ Bulls

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: Channel 26

Radio: WMVP 1000-AM

Update: Let's see, what's new with the Wizards lately? Oh yeah, Gilbert Arenas is on indefinite suspension after storing unloaded guns at his locker in the Verizon Center, while several teammates have been questioned by a grand jury about a confrontation involving injured guard Javaris Crittendon. Washington (12-25) has gone 5-15 since Dec. 4, but did beat Orlando without Arenas. PF Antawn Jamison is having one of his best seasons, averaging 22.4 points and 8.8 rebounds. Randy Foye (9.0 ppg) is the new point guard. This is the first meeting this season of these teams.

Next: Monday vs. Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, 3 p.m.