As the Bulls make relatively inconsequential roster moves this week, it seems that they and the Blackhawks are in danger of turning the United Center into the third Dakota.
It's early, of course.
The Bulls still might stumble upon a star player who provides hope, and the Hawks still might get lucky by having their season canceled by a labor dispute.
A rumored NBA trade of Dwight Howard involves four teams and 14 players. The Bulls might be included if it expands to 30 teams and 100 players.
Another rumor placed the Hawks in the Shane Doan bidding. That makes him the 20-millionth player they were supposed to be interested in recently.
But nothing is happening, so no news is, well, no news.
I'd like to take credit for the "third Dakota" reference, but it came from an advertising campaign in the Twin Cities sometime last decade.
"New stadium -- Yes!" read a sign at a parking lot a couple of blocks from the Metrodome. "Let's not become the 3rd Dakota."
The point was that the area would become East Dakota to North Dakota and South Dakota. It might as well be Saskatchewan, or maybe the Land of 1,000 Dry Lakes.
Now back to the United Center, which is at risk of becoming South Fargo.
NBA and NHL teams have been wheeling and dealing the past month with veteran stars committing to new teams as seamlessly as Kevin Youkilis changed his Sox.
The Bulls? So far their big move has been a Kirk Hinrich homecoming. The Hawks? They signed somebody named Sheldon Brookbank.
The blockbuster would be for the Bulls to match Houston's offer sheet to Omer Asik this week … or is the blockbuster move to not match it?
Either way, whoopee!
Kirk Hinrich … Sheldon Brookbank …. Omer Asik … who's the fourth face on the UC's new Mount Rushmore? Sergei Krivokrasov?
Few want to spend much time in North and South Dakota except to work at extracting oil or to visit four stoned presidents.
Meanwhile down here in the potential third Dakota, nobody seems to want to come to work for the Bulls or the Hawks, but fans still will pay big bucks to see the likes of Hinrich and Brookbank.
You would think that would shame the front offices of each of the United Center's primary tenants into at least pretending to have a pulse while preparing for their respective upcoming seasons.
In their defense, it isn't easy to make major personnel moves in the NBA and NHL these days, what with salary caps and luxury taxes and a tight economy.
What a franchise needs is the imagination, creativity, boldness, aggressiveness, vision and guts to manufacture something out of nothing.
Do any of those characteristics describe what Stan Bowman and Scotty Bowman or John Paxson and Gar Forman have demonstrated the past couple of years?
No, I don't think so either.
The Bulls and Hawks were so promising just a season or two ago, with maybe even the D-word attached to them being Dynasty rather than Dakota.
Each of these teams has suffered circumstantial setbacks, including injuries, and neither has appeared capable of responding so far.
Just one significant move apiece by the Bulls and Hawks could turn around this wasteland of a summer at the United Center.
Otherwise, Chicago is in danger of becoming the capital of the third Dakota.