By Daniel I. Dorfman–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Chicago, like any city, has seen its share of free agent disasters through the years. Bryan Cox, Eddie Robinson, Danny Jackson all come to mind. But how often do you get to see on one night two acquisitions that as of now look like colossal screwups?
Carlos Boozer and Adam Dunn seem intent on joining Tim Floyd, Terry Bevington and the State Street Mall as parts of this city’s history we want to forget.
In terms of the Bulls, what will be remembered from Thursday night is their absolute choke as the Heat closed out the game with an 18-3 run. In the big picture, it was a colossal task to ask a young Bulls team to beat the Heat, but it wasn’t as if the opportunities weren’t there in this series.
Granted the Bulls should be a contender for a long time, but there are no guarantees in sports and we could be looking back with a lot of “what ifs” on this series for a long time.
What occurred last night was an embarrassing way for a terrific season to conclude. Derrick Rose showed he may be a great player, but he is still 22-years-old and will make mistakes on both sides of the court. But there is no reason to believe Rose will not mature and build off his MVP award. What should be more troubling to everyone in Bulls land today is the play – or lack thereof – of Boozer.
Once again, coach Tom Thibodeau sparingly played Boozer in the second half on a night he went 1-for-6 from the field. When he was on the court, for the second straight game, Boozer committed a really stupid intentional foul. This time, the Bulls were up 11 late in the third period. Repeating what happened in Game 4, Boozer’s flagrant foul changed the direction the game. When he put his forearm across the face of LeBron James to draw the flagrant, the Bulls were up 58-47. After that, Miami closed out the third quarter strong and the Heat outscored the Bulls 36-22 for the rest of the game.
What is really disturbing is Boozer is not a rookie who couldn’t handle the pressure of the playoffs. He has been in the NBA since 2002. Moreover, he rarely plays defense and what this series showed is that the Bulls needed a consistent offensive alternative to Rose. That should have been Boozer. It wasn’t, and he and the rest of the team are packing up at the Berto Center today. Maybe Boozer will come back to the form he displayed in Utah and maybe there was more to his toe injury than we were led to believe. But what we saw – or didn’t see – this season was troubling. Like the last major acquisition by the Bulls of an established veteran – Ben Wallace – the Boozer deal looks really bad right now.
Meanwhile up in Toronto, another one of Jerry Reinsdorf’s acquisitions – Adam Dunn – had a typical night for himself thus far in a Sox uniform. He struck out four times and for the second time in as many days he failed in a crucial situation. Dunn is now hitting a robust .186 and is 0-for-33 with 15 strikeouts against southpaws. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he will drop Dunn to seventh in the batting order and one senses if the rules allowed a 17th place hitter, that is where Guillen would put Dunn.
Perhaps it is his adjusting to his role as a DH, perhaps it is adjusting to the American League, perhaps he will eventually turn it around. But those are a lot of perhaps. Right now, Dunn is a disaster and, with Alex Rios, they are a colossal, or make that multi-million dollar, mistakes on the part of GM Kenny Williams, whose contracts are going to weigh down on the White Sox for years to come.
No instruction manual exists on the method for bringing the right guys into the fold. But if there were such a manual, chances are it would not be written in Chicago.
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Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.