End of an era in Chicago?

The Bulls have been an interesting team over the course of the last ten or so seasons. While living in the shadow of the post-Jordan era, they've certainly had a few bright spots and reasons to hope, but, ultimately, they've always seemed to somehow come up short when it really counts and everything is on the line.

Marred by mediocrity

With a few bright spots over the last handful of years, including Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, and of course, Derrick Rose, the Bulls have certainly had their shot at putting together a talented roster and making a run for glory, but they just haven't been able to get over the hump.

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A once promising Derrick Rose has been plagued by injury and the loss of the explosiveness that made him an MVP-caliber Point Guard just a few seasons ago. Currently, Jimmy Butler has taken up the mantle as the face of the Bulls franchise, but even he cannot carry the team all by himself. The addition of Pau Gasol over the last few seasons has been a boost, but, age is catching up to the Power Forward and even he has already surpassed his best playing days.

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Joakim Noah is done with the Bulls

Just as integral to the fabric of the Bulls culture over the last few years, Joakim Noah has recently said that he wants out of the only city he has played for professionally. While Noah hasn't always lit up the box score or the stat sheet, he is the type of player that brings energy and effort, along with the intangibles that don't always show up on the score card.

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He has been the Bulls emotional leader on the floor and a strong voice in the locker room, and now, it appears that he, too, is done with the franchise. If Noah does ultimately leave Chicago, it will certainly be the end of an era for the team, the fans, and the franchise as a whole.

It's hard to say exactly what's next for the team, but they are certainly in a tough spot: they are good enough to compete, but they don't have the talent to best the top tier teams in the league.

Also, due to the fact that they are essentially right in the middle of the pack, they aren't bad enough to tank and hope for high lottery picks, and they aren't good enough as they currently stand to make a deep run in the regular season, let alone the Playoffs. Unless a big trade happens, or something else happens to shake things up, it would seem that the mediocrity is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

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