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News » Reinsdorf opens up about his best investment

Reinsdorf opens up about his best investment

Reinsdorf opens up about his best investment
Buying the Bulls was the best investment Jerry Reinsdorf ever made.

At least, he?s pretty sure it is, considering his investment group purchased the franchise for $16 million in 1985, turned a nice profit most every year since, and Forbes Magazine recently estimated its value, including a share of the United Center, at just more than $500 million.

"If you take into account that the Bulls also created the United Center, probably," said the chairman of both the Bulls and the White Sox. "Actually, I?ve been pretty lucky. I walked into Michael Jordan. He had already been drafted; nobody knew what he was.

"You don?t succeed in this world without a certain amount of luck. If you think you?re successful because you?re so smart, then you?re heading for a fall. It doesn?t work that way."

For the first time in at least a decade, Reinsdorf sat down Monday with Bulls beat writers and talked Basketball, business and his future as a dual sports team owner.

He suggested a few questions be redirected to the Bulls ? Basketball management tandem of John Paxson and Gar Forman, but overall Reinsdorf opened up on a variety of issues. Among them were the departure of Ben Gordon, the NBA?s gloomy economic forecast and whether he will ever pay the league?s luxury tax.

Here are some highlights:

Q: What were your thoughts on Gordon leaving for Detroit as a free agent?

A: Actually, we made a decision a year ago not to commit long term to Ben. We tried and he turned it down. Near the end, John and Gar decided that it probably wasn?t

a good idea to make a long-term decision.

So we withdrew the offer we had on the table. Ben ultimately came in and said he would take it, but it was too late.

Now fast forward to the end of the year, we have a heck of a three-guard rotation with (Kirk) Hinrich and (John) Salmons and Derrick (Rose). Ben wasn?t going to get a whole lot of playing time.

So Ben just no longer really fit. He?s a terrific player, but he needs minutes.

Q: The Bulls may try to add a high-priced player such as Carlos Boozer or Chris Bosh in the next 12 months. What are your concerns, considering that the team?s last big addition (Ben Wallace in 2006) didn?t pan out beyond one season?

A: The only way you can avoid making a mistake is not to make a decision. Even Jerry West had made mistakes, and he?s probably the best in the business. Red Auerbach made mistakes.

Was Ben Wallace a mistake? Probably, because what we didn?t think about was that Ben needs to play alongside somebody that can score a lot of points.

I don?t think it?s the thought of Ben Wallace that makes us be careful. It?s just the thought of, when you make a mistake, you own that mistake.

Q: What about the economic climate in the NBA, with the salary cap falling and so many teams paying out bad contracts?

A: I love it when a team wastes money. I love it. Let them lock themselves up so they lose maneuverability. I don?t feel sorry for them when they waste money, then they cry that they?re losing money. That?s their problem.

Eventually people correct the way they?re acting. I don?t see any teams on the verge of going broke like in hockey. I think the league is in good shape.

Q: How much longer do you plan to continue as chairman of the Bulls and the White Sox?

A: Two of my very best friends died within two days of each other. It?s a very unpredictable world. Right now I don?t have any plans to stop, but who knows?

If you want to know if there?s any chance of me quitting ? if anything happened to Howard Pizer, that?s when you start worrying about it.

Because without Howard Pizer, I don?t know how I would exist. He does all the work for the White Sox and the United Center. He?s on top of everything. He?s been with me since 1972 in law, in real estate and sports.

Q: Would you be willing to pay the NBA?s luxury tax, something the Bulls haven?t done?

A: If I thought we had a guy that would put us over the top and we would be in the Finals, I?d pay the tax. I wouldn?t hesitate.

But I haven?t seen the guy that Gar or John has brought to me and said, "Pay the tax and we?re in the Finals."

Q: Are the Bulls counting on landing a significant free agent next summer?

A: We?re not betting on 2010. But we want to be in position to do something significant in 2010. I think we will be better (next season) because, first of all, Luol (Deng) will be back, assuming he?s not hurt.

We?ll have Salmons and (Brad) Miller for a full season, and we have the draft choices (James Johnson, Taj Gibson).

Q: What is your impression of rookie Derrick Rose and the controversial episodes he had early this summer?

A: He?s a very solid kid. Coming out of kind of a rough background, it?s amazing how well grounded he is.

He?s not full of himself at all. He just wants to play Basketball and get better. Hopefully he?ll be here for a long time.

The other stuff, the negative stuff ? that?s kid stuff. What did you do when you were 18, 19 years old? I know what I did and it wasn?t something I?m proud of.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 23, 2009


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