Bulls, Knicks showing exactly why Heat going about rebuilding the right way

 

Pat Riley has the Heat much better situated than the warring Bulls and Knicks.  (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Pat Riley has the Heat much better situated than the warring Bulls and Knicks. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls have won 23 games. The New York Knicks have 20 wins.

The Miami Heat are 16-30.

Which franchise is more stable and better positioned to rebound?

The dysfunction going on in Chicago and New York further illustrates the dangers of attempting to fix a franchise by acquiring aging, expensive, fading stars and hoping they either thrive in a change of scenery or find the fountain of youth.

The Bulls last season spent $75 million on Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. The Knicks added Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee for $162 million, to go along with the $79 million that Carmelo Anthony has remaining.

How is all that working out?

Of those players, all but Rose is at least 30 and Rose is about as old a 28 as any player in the league.

Meanwhile, Heat president Pat Riley decided to give 27-year-old center Hassan Whiteside the max and surround him with a veteran point guard in Goran Dragic and then mostly young, developing players or veterans on short-term deals. Oh, and he passed on paying 35-year-old Wade more than $40 million.

No matter what you think of Whiteside, especially following Wednesday’s ‘ankle-gate,’ this is why Riley can be trusted to rebuild a franchise and Phil Jackson, a fraud ever since he took over the Knicks, and whoever is running the show in Chicago are failing with their latest attempt.

The Knicks are a disaster. Jackson has poisoned the organization. And now his desperate attempt to alienate Anthony is becoming a sideshow. And if people think Jackson is stealing money, Noah is not far behind. As for Rose, at least New York only has to put with him for one year.

The Bulls have hit rock bottom. Wade and Jimmy Butler, who have a very public Bromance going on, vilified everybody wearing a Bulls uniform short of Michael Jordon and Scottie Pippen. That was before Rondo then torched his two teammates for their lack of leadership in an Instagram rant that did not stop there. He also threw his coach, Fred Hoiberg, under the bus.

All of which had the organization waking up today to headlines in the Chicago papers that read: “Dis-function” and “A clown show.”

Meanwhile, Riley sits back watching his Heat win five in a row (okay, I get how some may think that is NOT a good thing) and plots for the future.

The Heat likely will have around $40 million in cap space next summer (a number that could increase by about $17 million if they trade Dragic). The Knicks and Bulls both likely are looking at $20 to $25 million. For the Bulls, that number doubles if Wade does not exercise his player option for $23.8 million.)

This is not to say Miami will be back on top next year. So much has to happen including making the right selection when the Heat find out where they will be picking in the lottery and trying to reel in a ‘whale’ from what is not expected to be a very impressive free agent class – that is unless the unexpected happens and any one or two out of the group of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin do not re-sign with their existing teams – or even pouncing on the Bulls when they are down and perhaps enticing them to trade Butler.

Still, which organization would you rather be and which do you believe has a brighter future?

[Miami Heat shut out of All-Star game for first time since 2004]

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