NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas did several interviews for the highly anticipated documentary ‘The Last Dance,’ focusing on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls. Thomas, a Chicago-native, was the leader of the ‘Bad Boys’ Pistons squad that was the ultimate litmus test for the Bulls in the late 80s. The Bulls famously got past the Pistons in the 1990-91 in the Eastern Conference Finals in an extremely physical four-game series. After the decisive defeat in Game 4, Thomas and the Pistons infamously refused to shake hands with the Bulls.
Thomas has always maintained that he regrets that decision and in an interview with The Detroit News, he discussed how he hopes his admiration for Jordan shines through:
I hope the full content of what I was trying to express in the admiration we all had for him as a player is shown from my comments. All of us who talked about him talked about how we admired how great a player he was — and we couldn’t stop him other than to double- or triple-team him.
Though Thomas and Jordan were fierce rivals, the Chicago native made it clear that he has always had an immense amount of respect for MJ and that he never personally heard Jordan say anything about keeping him off of ‘The Dream Team’, an oft-discussed controversy in NBA history. The infamous handshake situation has also been thought of as a primary reason that Thomas didn’t feel completely accepted by his city during Jordan’s tenure, on top of being a possible reason for the Dream Team snub.
Thomas states that while the handshake situation was unfortunate, the narrative surrounding the situation got out of hand. “When we beat Boston, (Larry) Bird didn’t shake none of our hands…I find it interesting the target shifts and the narrative changes.”
‘The Last Dance’ premieres April 19, 2020, on ESPN.
On Friday Bleacher Report released a list ranking every NBA MVP since 2000. Derrick Rose, still the youngest MVP in league history, came in at No. 19 on the list. Rose’s ranking placed him one spot ahead of Allen Iverson’s 2001 MVP campaign and one spot behind Steve Nash’s second MVP season in 2006.
In the 2010-11 season, the Bulls won 62 games and were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference over the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. That season was Rose’s third in the league and the then-22-year-old averaged a robust 25.0 points and 7.7 assists per game while maintaining a 55.0% true shooting percentage.
Two minutes of Derrick Rose just carving up the defense and finishing below the rim during his 2010-2011 MVP season.
This is poetry. 🌹 pic.twitter.com/2ns8Ud7VuK
— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) April 18, 2020
Though Rose’s individual 2010-11 season was excellent, the team itself was propped up by an elite defense. On top of that, a staple of the Tom Thibodeau-era Bulls teams was the ability to succeed no matter who was in the lineup, a true “next man up” mentality. To that point, Bleacher Report’s list notes that the 2010-11 Bulls posted a plus-5.8 net rating when Rose was off the floor, further evidence of how good the team was sans Rose.
Rose is still no doubt one of the most impressive MVPs in league history. A 22-year old guard from Chicago helped bring his hometown franchise back to the forefront of the NBA title conversation, and that amazing feat was enough to place Rose ahead of the only guard on Bleacher Report’s list with a lower true shooting percentage in Iverson.
On Tuesday, the Bulls received permission to interview three candidates for their open general manager spot: Marc Eversley of the Philadelphia 76ers, Mark Hughes of the Los Angeles Clippers and Matt Lloyd of the Orlando Magic (all assistant general managers with their current teams).
Friday, news surfaced that they’ve interviewed a candidate for the position, but he does not hail from the above list: Michael Finley of the Dallas Mavericks, as reported by ESPN’s Tim McMahon:
Sources: Mavericks vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley interviewed for the Bulls’ general manager job. Finley, a Chicago native who was twice an All-Star in his 15-year career, has spent the last seven seasons in the Dallas front office.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 18, 2020
Finley is a Chicago native and has spent the last seven years working his way through the Mavericks’ front office after playing in the NBA for 15 seasons.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has repeatedly endorsed Finley, telling Sports Illustrated earlier this month he would be “amazing” for the Bulls’ lead executive spot.
He represents another well-regarded candidate in the Bulls’ ever-evolving front office search.