In his first official appearance in front of the media, Bulls general manager Gar Forman didn't shed much light on the organization's future transactions. When questioned about issues ranging from the potential acquisition of shooting guard Rip Hamilton and the team's involvement in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes to veteran big man Kurt Thomas signing with Portland and the status of Keith Bogans, last season's starting shooting guard, Forman played coy.
"Really, all I know is what Ive read," Forman said regarding Hamilton, reportedly bought out by the Pistons, though the process might not be completed yet. "I dont want to talk about other teams' players."
About Howard, Forman offered one of his standard lines, saying, "Its our job to be in touch with all 29 teams around the league and we have been in the last week.
"I wouldnt mention individual names or share our business or who were talking to as far as players are concerned," he continued. "Were having conversations throughout the league."
As far as Bogans, Forman reiterated the stance he took in a statement released by the team on Friday, when the veteran shooting guard was pulled off the Berto Center practice floor in the first practice of training camp. However, despite his praise of Bogans, it now seems unlikely that he'll return to Chicago or that the Bulls will have a chance to exercise their 1.73 million team option by the Dec. 19 deadline.
Forman took his shtick even further when Thomas--who reportedly signed a two-year contract with the Trail Blazers--was mentioned, professing that he wasn't aware of the deal for the league's elder statesman, a valuable member of the Bulls' 62-win regular-season team a year ago, before offering platitudes.
"Obviously we wanted Kurt back and we offered Kurt a contract. He was a big part of what we did a year ago," he said. "But Kurt had to evaluate the situation from his perspective and obviously he must have felt that Portland presented a better opportunity off him.
"Well have to have some depth behind them, even if its just from a practice standpoint. Its hard to go through a season with just four bigs. Thats still something were taking a look at, whether we add another four or a five," Forman added, when asked whether the Bulls would another insurance-policy post player to their frontline. "Again, if we dont find the right guy well be patient with it try to keep some flexibility with that position. If we dont address it right away, we may address it down the road."
Forman did offer some clarity as to the Bulls' thought process during the NBA's chaotic, truncated free-agency period, indicating that the franchise would exercise patience and are confident in the current roster.
"It was our goal to bring the nucleus of this team back and we have. We love the makeup and character of this basketball team. What we really like is the chemistry that weve got and the way these guys work together," said Forman. "We're still exploring ways we can improve this basketball team moving forward, and and we still have some roster spots and a little bit of flexibility, and were exploring options, as far as making additions to this team, and hopefully something will happen in regards to that in the next few days.
"The way weve approached this free agency, weve been in contact with a number of players and weve really tried to explore a number of different options we feel we would have a chance to improve this basketball team. If we find the right player or players that we feel give us a chance to get better, well certainly make a move. That said, our feeling has always been were not going to make a move just to make a move. If we dont feel its a plus for this team, well bring this team back as is and feel really good about our group of guys and give them a chance to continue to grow," he continued. "I dont want to talk about specific players, but obviously right now weve got 11 guys under contract and we still have some spots to fill and some flexibility as to how we approach it."
One thing the general manager didn't hem and haw about, however, was their efforts in the process to get the league MVP signed to a long-term extension to remain in his hometown.
"Derrick is the centerpiece of what were trying to put together here. Obviously, we want Derrick to be a Chicago Bull for a long, long time," said Forman. "To us, its obviously very important that we put the right pieces around Derrick and hes able to have success, that we have success, and that he remains a Chicago Bull.
"Were talking to his representatives now and hopefully well be able to get something done in a pretty short amount of time."