As the Chicago Bulls continue their rebuild and looking to what’s ahead, one ‘what if’ that still haunts fans to this day was rehashed on a recent episode of The Jump.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols was joined by Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on Wednesday to discuss all things NBA.
Among the topics, was how close the two came to signing with the Bulls back in 2010. Fans will no doubt remember the infamous free agency that could’ve been—with all of Bosh, Wade, and LeBron James having met with Chicago.
Ultimately, the three stars elected to team up on the Miami Heat, and it paid off in the form of back-to-back championships.
But, as Bosh made sure to note, the Chicago Bulls did make a strong impression. Perhaps, almost too strong.
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Bosh: ‘It Was An Excellent Pitch’
Following a 41-41 campaign that saw Derrick Rose blossoming into who would eventually be the youngest MVP in league history, the Chicago Bulls felt well-positioned to make a splash in free agency.
And they almost did, getting as close as anyone not named the Miami Heat at landing Chris Bosh. Because as the 11-tie All-Star told it on The Jump, he was very impressed with their pitch:
When I went into the pitch with Chicago, whew, it was an excellent pitch. It was a really, really good pitch. I didn’t know I was going to feel the way I was going to feel, right? I was in the house that Jordan built. It was all there.
But ultimately, it was ‘the pressure’ of being responsible for luring one of Dwyane Wade or LeBron James into joining him in Chicago that saw him back out and head to South Beach:
And, I tell people all the time that was the pressure that they were putting on me. They said, ‘If you come, Dwyane or LeBron is going to come. So, you need to make a decision.’ That was my pressure.
Where Chicago would have only been able to bring in one of the two aforementioned greats, Miami was able to land all three, via sign-and-trade deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
Wade reaffirmed that as the Bulls’ downfall on the same episode of The Jump:
The Bulls, the Knicks, every team that was in the runnings in 2010 could only bring in two star players. So, in Chicago, it was gonna be a race to either it’s Chris and me or Chris and LeBron; it wasn’t going to be all three of us. So, Miami was the only team that made sure to put themself in a position that all three of us can come in.
Still, even without Bosh, and one of James/Wade, Chicago ended up having a historic 2010-2011 campaign.
They went 62-20 under first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau and MVP Derrick Rose, before ultimately being eliminated by none other than the Heat in just five games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Bulls Ended Up Landing Wade, Later
Chris Bosh ended up seeing his career end prematurely with the Miami Heat, and LeBron James has had two additional chapters with the Cleveland Cavaliers and now the Los Angeles Lakers.
But Dwyane Wade ended up making his way to the Chicago Bulls in 2016. He signed a two-year deal with the team as a free agent for $47.5-million, joining up with Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo as their own ‘Big Three’ of sorts.
It didn’t go as expected, with Wade and the Bulls reaching an agreement on a buyout after just one season together.
He averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game with Chicago, who went 41-41 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in six games.
For some fans, it’s an open wound, the ‘what if’ of that free agency in 2010.
Continued reporting like Wednesday’s comments from Chris Bosh don’t help.