Gar Forman, who first came to the Bulls with Tim Floyd in 1998, has been relieved of his general manager duties and, according to a team statement, will not be involved in the basketball operations department.
Forman, who was promoted to general manager in 2009, had largely been relegated to a scouting role since John Paxson reclaimed face of the franchise duties in the wake of the June 2017 trade of Jimmy Butler.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work for the Chicago Bulls for more than two decades," Forman said in a statement. "There is no better ownership group in professional sports than the Reinsdorfs, and I want to thank Jerry and Michael for their support during my tenure. The Bulls organization will always hold a special place in my heart.”
With Karnisovas set to head basketball operations and become the face of the franchise, Paxson, as has been previously reported, will move into an advisory role with no daily duties around the team. And Forman, who sources said has two years remaining on his Bulls deal, is out.
"Regarding Gar, I think after some consideration and conversation, it was apparent we had different philosophies that would prevent us from moving forward," Karnisovas told assorted media in a conference call Monday afternoon. "I’m sure Gar gave his best to the Bulls organization, but those decisions are never easy. I was hired to effect change in the current situation, so that was the decision behind that."
During his interview process, Karnisovas conveyed to ownership that he viewed Paxson as a resource, not a roadblock, sources said — though Paxson only will be used as a sounding board. Karnisovas has full authority on all basketball decisions and already has begun building out the organizational infrastructure with the hire of at least one assistant general manager.
Karnisovas also has been compiling a list of general manager candidates and plans to begin the interview process — including requesting permission for candidates currently under contract with other teams — in the near future.
"This process is going to be extensive and diverse. I was telling (Bulls president) Michael Reinsdorf that I have an advantage over him in terms of hiring the right person because personally I know most of those guys in this industry," Karnisovas said. "Over the years, my role in scouting and the front office, I got to know them, and the list is very extensive. The talent pool is great, and I will explore all the options. I believe I will hire the best person for the job.’’
Forman is expected to pursue scouting opportunities with other teams. Sources said the Bulls planned to offer some form of settlement, which could include full payment, on the two remaining years on Forman’s contract.
Though Forman sometimes rankled some agents and executives with his secretive ways, he has developed a leaguewide reputation as an elite talent evaluator. Drafting Jimmy Butler at No. 30 and Taj Gibson at No. 26 are concrete examples of this.
"Gar Forman worked tirelessly for the Chicago Bulls organization, first as a scout and then as an executive. He made many significant contributions during his time here and helped to bring some of the brightest young basketball talent to our team, from Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to Jimmy Butler and Coby White," team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "He has been a trusted advisor and friend to me over the years, and on behalf of everyone I want to thank him for his commitment to the organization. Gar will always be a part of our Bulls family.”
Karnisovas is big on player development, an area in which team president Michael Reinsdorf has praised head coach Jim Boylen. Karnisovas said he plans to have conversations with Boylen to become more familiar with him.
According to Karnisovas, the two have already been in touch, though he said there is no timetable on any coaching-related decisions.
"In terms of talking to Jim and the rest of the coaching staff, I already started this process," Karnisovas said. "I’m going to do my comprehensive evaluation of every department and make sure I give the right time, because as we all know we’re limited right now in what we can do. Instead of being in the practice facility and being in Chicago, we are at home and on an audio call. So it makes it difficult.’’