Gar Forman

Michael Reinsdorf says Bulls have right people, a good plan in place for rebuild

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NBC Sports Chicago

Michael Reinsdorf says Bulls have right people, a good plan in place for rebuild

Tomorrow is a significant day in the Bulls rebuild.

The NBA Draft Lottery could change the shape of multiple organizations depending on which way the ping pong balls bounce. Whatever happens, Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf believes the Bulls have a good plan and the right people in place to see through the rebuild.

In an interview on 670 The Score’s Mully and Haugh on Monday morning, Reinsdorf said he has heard from fans who are unhappy with the state of the Bulls, but Reinsdorf stuck by his guys. Reinsdorf backed coach Jim Boylen, who recently signed a contract extension.

“I think we knew towards the end of the season that Jim was the right person for us,” Reinsdorf said. “We had enough experience with him and so it was just a matter of getting the contract done. I’m happy with Jim. I feel like he has put 100 percent effort behind coaching. I think he has worked his way up to the role that he is playing right now as coach of the Chicago Bulls. He has had almost every job there is in coaching, whether it’s through college or the NBA. He cares a lot. He’s got a plan and he also recognizes that he doesn’t always have all the answers.”

He also said he believes John Paxson and Gar Forman have proven themselves based on their track record in the draft and the contender they built in the Derrick Rose era.

“You can’t control injuries and I really do believe that if you factor in the Derrick Rose injury, we built championship-caliber teams,” Reinsdorf said. “They built a championship-caliber team. That team that was competing with Miami in the beginning of the decade. We had the best record in the league two years in a row. I’m not saying we would have won championships, but we certainly would have competed. We had the best record in the league two years in a row and we drafted Jimmy Butler. I look at the drafts that we’ve had, whether it’s drafting Mirotic at 22 and Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah at nine. I just think that they’ve done a really good job.”

Boylen, Paxson and Forman aren’t particularly popular figures among Bulls fans currently. That’s also something Reinsdorf said he is aware of from talking to fans in the past year.

While Reinsdorf did admit that rebuilds are painful, and even quipped that it’s “a lot of losses” between the Bulls and White Sox, he thinks they have a solid plan in place.

“I feel like we have a great opportunity with this year’s draft to add another player and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think we can jump from where we were this year to a much better record,” Reinsdorf said. “I really think we’re set up. Time is going to tell. I don’t claim that next year we’re going to be a championship caliber team, but I think you’re going to see the next step next year and a big jump. Part of the fun and excitement of basketball or sports is when you’re climbing up that mountain. Obviously we have been at the bottom of that mountain the last couple years, but I think we’re going to be climbing up it nicely next year.”

He also emphasized the importance of not panicking and remaining patient in the rebuild.

“We’re going to follow this plan through,” Reinsdorf said. “We have some cap space this year to spend on players. I do think we need to add to our depth and we’ll do that. I’m excited.”

 

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Gar Forman spotted at Duke-UNC game

Gar Forman spotted at Duke-UNC game

Plenty of eyes in the basketball world will be on the North Carolina-Duke game on Wednesday, including Bulls general manager Gar Forman.

Forman was spotted at Cameron indoor Stadium before the game.

There are plenty of top prospects in the game, namely Duke's Zion Williamson. Williamson is looking more and more like a lock to be the top pick in June's draft.

R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish of Duke also could be top five picks. All three Duke prospects are freshmen. On the other side, UNC freshman forward Nassir Little could be a lottery pick while freshman guard Coby White's stock is rising and he figures to be a first-round pick.

So wherever the ping pong balls fall in May, there is likely to be a player in this game that would make sense for whatever pick the Bulls end up with.

This isn't the first time Forman has been spotted scouting Duke. Forman was at the Blue Devils' season opener against Kentucky on Nov. 6, which took place in Indianapolis as part of the State Farm Champions Classic.

The real question is, with tickets going for at least $2,500 just to get in the building, how much did he pay to go?

 

 

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John Paxson opens up on Bulls' future on 670 The Score

John Paxson opens up on Bulls' future on 670 The Score

John Paxson went on 670 The Score on Thursday for an interview with Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins. They discussed the Bulls’ ongoing rebuild, free agency and misinterpretations about the franchise’s plans moving forward. The interview got heated several different times, as Paxson opened up on this tough and trying season.

Among the many thing the Bulls President of Basketball Operations addressed was the common misconceptions about the team shared by fans and media alike. When Parkins and McNeil brought up the “near mutiny” from the Bulls players’ in early December, Paxson was quick to correct the pair, telling them that the reports stating that the players called the NBA Players Association on Jim Boylen’s perceived intense practice methods was simply not true.

“That’s a falsehood right there. They never contacted the union.” And he reiterated that league commissioner Adam Silver let him know that Bulls players had not contacted the union.

Paxson continued, “Little things take on a life of their own and they become facts, even when they’re not......if that’s hurting our perception well then so be it because we can’t do anything about it."

When asked to give examples of creative and outside-the-box ideas to attract elite talent to Chicago in the future, Paxson admitted that it was a tough question to answer, as the Bulls “are not singling out certain individuals”.

He doubled down on that statement, saying that the Bulls were going to continue to be realistic in what they can do. In the interview Paxson also made it clear that he considers some of the more extreme methods use by NBA franchises in courting free agent superstars  is very close to the line as far as tampering goes.

McNeil and Parkins brought up specific examples such as Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer going to a game to watch Kawhi Leonard play even when the game doesn’t involve the Clippers, or the New York Knicks hiring Royal Ivey, a good friend of Kevin Durant’s who also played basketball at the University of Texas.  

“When teams do things like that.....if you don’t consider that tampering, then.....I don’t know what is.”

When asked to address the thought from some Bulls fans that the front office values financial success over winning, Paxson had no response for the specific statement but outlined how the Bulls’ past success under this regime gives him confidence moving forward.

Paxson also said that every time he comes on radio shows, they usually turn into “interrogations, they’re not interviews.” This is not something he considers fair, as he stated he is probably “as direct and honest an executive as there is in the city.”

Despite the interview getting contentious at times, Paxson mostly defended the franchise and their direction, and heaped praise on Boylen and the organization as a whole whenever he could. He made it known that he is aware of the portion of the fanbase that wants he and longtime general manager Gar Forman gone, but continued to encourage fans to be patient with what could be a long rebuilding process.

“I’m well aware that there is a March 6 protest of me and Gar, those type of things.”

Paxson stated that “people can have their opinion, but there is a lot of misinformation out there.”

Despite much of Bulls Nation being in despair at the current state of the franchise, Paxson was confident that the Bulls will get back to being a winning franchise in the near future.

“I’m confident that we can do it again because we’ve done it before.”