It's the building in which the Bulls' dynasty took off.
It's also the building in which plenty of Bulls' heartbreak occurred.
Yes, the Palace of Auburn Hills, located in Auburn Hills, Mich., met its demise Saturday morning. Workers imploded the grand building, which, as one of the first multipurpose arenas, served as an instructional blueprint for the Bulls and Blackhawks when they constructed the United Center.
Watch: The Palace of Auburn Hills imposion— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) July 11, 2020
The former home of the Pistons stands no more pic.twitter.com/aWuaKkEBqG
The Pistons played in the arena from 1988 to 2017, and won three championships while calling it home. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has said many times over the years that then-Pistons owner Bill Davidson, who privately financed the arena, advised him and Bill Wirtz on its good and bad aspects before Reinsdorf and Wirtz teamed up to open the United Center in 1994.
Most everyone who went there simply called it “The Palace.” It's where the Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas, refused to shake the Bulls' hands as they swept them out of the 1991 Eastern Conference finals en route to the first of their six titles. It's also where Scottie Pippen suffered a migraine headache in a depressing Game 7 loss in the 1990 Eastern Conference finals.
"They were always bullying people, and I remember at shootaround that morning we swept them, they were yelling at us to get off the floor when we still had 30 minutes left," former Bulls center and current TV analyst Stacey King told NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson when Johnson worked for the Chicago Tribune. "We were like, 'You're down 3-0! Scottie walked over with a fake broom and acted like he was sweeping the floor and said: 'You all are down. Get ready for the summer.' They were a prideful bunch. And I knew that hurt them."
King said these words before the Bulls' final game in The Palace on March 6, 2017. He also acknowledged when the Pistons Game 7 victory in 1990 — and what Michael Jordan did afterward.
"Michael said, 'We won't lose to them again in a playoff series.' And we didn't," King said. "But they were unbeatable here for a while. The fans, the energy in here with so much at stake between us, it was one of the most fun places to play. For a while, they were the bully and we were the kid they took the lunch money from."
The Pistons moved to the sparkling Little Caesars Arena, located in downtown Detroit, for the 2017-18 season.
Absent from the NBA’s season restart, and with organized offseason activities a question hanging in the air, the next tentpole for the Bulls to hone in on is the draft.
This year’s draft will be an especially important one for the organization. Entering Year 4 of a rebuild and under fresh front office leadership in Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley, the direction the Bulls take with their impending top-10 choice will offer a window into the new regime’s thoughts on the roster and teams’ general standing.
Karnisovas, for his part, disputed the widely-accepted notion that this draft is a weak one at his end-of-season press conference with reporters. The Bulls own the seventh-best lottery odds (yet again), with a 7.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, and 32 percent odds of vaulting into the top four. They also own the Grizzlies’ second-round pick (No. 47) by way of some transaction minutia from the Tomas Satoransky sign-and-trade.
“I like a lot of players that are in our range,” Karnisovas said. “I think we’ve done a lot of work studying. That’s why the excitement is coming from studying those players and interviewing them and looking at the video. So I think we’ll add a good player to our roster next year.”
Wherever the Bulls land, they’ll have a litany of possible needs to address. Though they invested the No. 7 overall pick in Coby White in 2019, the playmaking potential of lead guards LaMelo Ball or Killian Hayes might be too much to pass up if afforded an opportunity to snag them. On the wing, an area the Bulls are thin, do-it-all forward Deni Avdija and 3-and-D prototype Devin Vassell's stocks are rapidly rising, and Isaac Okoro has drawn Jimmy Butler comparisons for his game-wrecking potential on the defensive end. Onyeka Okongwu, Obi Toppin and James Wiseman intrigue in the frontcourt, as well.
All of which is to say, a lot can happen between now and October, when the draft is scheduled to be held. Which direction should the Bulls go? Here’s a roundup of the latest spate of Mock Drafts from across the interwebs:
No. 7: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
No. 7: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
No. 7: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
No. 47: Elijah Hughes, F, Syracuse
No. 8: Killian Hayes, G, Ulm
No. 7: Killian Hayes, G, Ulm
No. 47: Paul Reed, F, Depaul
No. 7: Onyeka Okongwu, F/C, USC
No. 47: Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College (JUCO)
No. 7: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
No. 9: Killian Hayes, G, Ulm
And here’s NBC Sports Chicago’s latest Mock, which saw the Bulls select Okoro. Happy scouting.