Michael Reinsdorf

Bulls mailbag: Where do the Bulls go from here?

Bulls mailbag: Where do the Bulls go from here?

The Bulls might lead the league in moral victories. Unfortunately for them, those don’t count in the standings. And so a season that began with playoff aspirations has led to a flooded inbox.

The Bulls have consistently been one of the top teams in attendance across the league, albeit with one of the largest capacities among NBA arenas. With the recent reporting on the dip of attendance at the United Center, do you see this metric getting through to the Reinsdorfs on the current state of the Bulls? Is it a measure being talked about internally that could lead to change? - Hugo M.

I also received a question via Twitter from T.K. asking if Mr. Reinsdorf is “feeling the pressure” from the dipping attendance. Pressure may be overstating matters, but it absolutely is being talked about internally. It has caught the Reinsdorfs’ attention. How could it not? The Bulls have finished first or second in attendance in 16 of the previous 19 seasons. This season also is the third straight they’ve ranked outside the top-10 in capacity, which hadn’t happened since 2003-04. Coincidentally, that’s the first season in which John Paxson had taken over for Jerry Krause, whom most fans thought Reinsdorf would never touch. But five seasons of rebuilding and two straight in which the Bulls ranked ninth and fifth in attendance — and 13th in capacity —  finally led to change.

Will it happen again? Only the Reinsdorfs know. Obviously, if the losing and sagging attendance continues throughout the season, changes would be on the table.

When will the Bulls make a change at head coach and the front office? Will they ride this out the rest of the year or do something midseason? Because they have to do something, right? – Tim G.

This season does feel different because everyone from ownership to management to Jim Boylen publicly stated progress would be made. Playoffs were even publicly set as the goal. And at the very least, competitive basketball was to be expected. At least the Bulls finally are showing signs of that. However, playoffs certainly feel like a longshot.

I’ve heard no talk of in-season changes. The Bulls just tried that last year. And remember: They’re still paying Fred Hoiberg this season, although his $5 million salary is offset by almost half thanks to him landing a job with Nebraska. Boylen is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the league. So if ownership and management concluded after this season that he’s not the right fit anymore, his salary isn’t prohibitive to swallow. But I wouldn’t expect such determinations to come from ownership on management and management on coaching until after the season.

In your sitdown with team president Michael Reinsdorf earlier this year, he stated that he doesn't like the term "GarPax" and that Gar Forman and John Paxson are "individuals" and have "different roles.”  However, his quotes in the article don't really spell out the differences and in fact he says "Gar and John" twice.  Can you help clarify?  I ask because at some point, the Bulls will need to make a coaching change (god bless Jim Boylen and his lame coaching speak, but the writing is on the wall). And I presume at some point, the Reinsdorfs will say to themselves: “We can't let the same people pick a third coach?”  Is the hiring of a coach a Gar decision?  A Pax decision? Somebody actually makes the decisions right?  Constant change (see Knicks) is ridiculous and unproductive, but at some point the fans do need some change, even if it’s for change's sake. Grasping for some kind of hope here, but will they ever get new blood in the front office ever? Or is this it? This can't be it can it? This is probably it. - Nit B.

Your angst, and humor, is palpable.

Also, I’m not sure where you’re getting picking a third coach. This management team has hired five, although Vinny Del Negro was largely seen as an ownership hire after a tortuous process that featured top choices Mike D’Antoni and Doug Collins not working out for various reasons.

The reason Michael referred to them as “Gar and John” is that, while their day-to-day duties are different, all major organizational decisions are made with input from all the top decision-makers. Forman focuses on scouting and talking to agents and other executives throughout the season. Paxson focuses on setting the culture, big-picture items and is around the team more.

For coaching hires, it’s my understanding that the two Reinsdorfs, Forman and Paxson all talk it out and reach a consensus. That said, Hoiberg is largely viewed as endorsed and pushed by Forman, while Boylen had strong support from Paxson and ownership.

You asked a lot of questions but to answer one: Yes, somebody actually makes the decisions. And those largely are reached by debate and discussion and consensus. As for new blood, let’s see how the season concludes. As mentioned above, if this losing and sagging attendance continue, changes have to be on the table.

You’ve been around the block a few times. Where does Boylen rank in terms of hatred from the fanbase? There’s been a few incompetent coaches this franchise has had. - Jay R.

As Louden Wainwright III once sang, “hate is a strong word/I wanna backtrack/the bigger the front/the bigger the back.” But I digress.

It’s always difficult to paint with broad brushstrokes. Yes, I receive plenty of dislike for Boylen via emails or @s on Twitter. I also see some support. At least in my little world, the dislike outweighs the support. But to answer your question, I’m now up to eight head coaches covered, not counting the other Jim Boylen who served as an interim head coach.

Here are your requested (subjective) rankings, from beloved to frustrated: Phil Jackson; Tom Thibodeau; Scott Skiles; Bill Cartwright; Fred Hoiberg; Vinny Del Negro; Jim Boylen; Tim Floyd.

Some brief elaboration: The first three won so they should be self-explanatory. Cartwright was such a decent man and had some leftover goodwill from winning three titles as a player that he ranks ahead of coaches who directed playoff teams. The reason Hoiberg, who had one playoff season, ranks ahead of Del Negro, who had two, is because a lot of the fan feedback I received during Hoiberg’s tenure is that he wasn’t given the proper personnel to fit his style. Boylen and Floyd have lost a lot, so they should be self-explanatory, too.

One last thing about coaching: The NBA is a players league. Coaching is important, obviously. But a lot of success or failure comes down to the rosters. Give Floyd a roster with Michael Jordan and maybe he doesn’t rank so low.

How bad does it have to get for the Bulls to realize they have no chance at making the playoffs? If the realization comes, then what? I don’t see any sort of path forward for this team that involves a title or even competing in the near future. Could they really blow it up again? It seems to be the only way towards a title but I’m thinking that would take the Reinsdorfs clearing house. Unfortunately, it is a bleak future and a long road no matter how you look at.  - Ben V.

This dynamic has my antennae and intrigue up as well, less so for coaching or management changes and more for the roster. If the Bulls don’t right the ship and at least start playing more competitively in the next month, are they active sellers at the February trade deadline? Remember: They traded Jimmy Butler and fully believed at least two of the three players they received in return could approach All-Star status. To this point, that hasn’t happened.

Through a very soft part of the schedule, the team is on pace for 26 wins. There have been no meaningful improvements from our vaunted “core” and from a cap perspective we are basically locked into this roster through the 2021 season when OPJ (he will 100% pick up his option, you can’t convince me otherwise) and Felicio are off the books  Can ownership in good faith really run this front office, coaching staff, and roster out there for 100 more games over the next season and a half? How many front office groups get a chance to rebuild from their own disastrous attempt at a rebuild gone fully off the rails? - A frustrated fan on the edge, Nick, Glen Ellyn

This ties into management’s future and is again a dynamic that has me intrigued. As I’ve reported countless times, the reason ownership has so much faith in this management team is because it watched it flip over a roster inherited from Krause (save for two players) and turn it into the well-liked and perennial playoff teams of Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. Then, after one disastrous season, management walked into Derrick Rose and had that team on track to compete for titles until Rose’s torn ACL. So whether fans like to hear it or not, ownership believed in management’s ability to construct a competitive roster when starting over. That’s why this season has been so disappointing to this point. And it’s also why, if this disappointment continues, it will be fascinating to see what comes next. After all, ownership, management and Boylen all are on record as saying this season would be different.

With how pathetically thin the Bulls are on the wing, why hasn’t Boylen tried Thad Young there? It seems like he would be quick enough to make it work in spots and Young absolutely needs more minutes than the 21 or so he is averaging per game this season. – Nick P.

Boylen said he and his staff discussed this possibility and that Boylen also talked to Young about it. But it hasn’t happened. Dunn has played well as a starter and Denzel Valentine has revived his rotational role. But Young is playing the second-fewest minutes of his career. And while he knew he didn’t sign here to start because of Markkanen, he also thought he’d be playing more. Young is as professional as they come, but he has shared his desire to play more with several in the organization. He logged a season-high in minutes on Wednesday.

Taking into account the way the Bulls have been playing, and now the news that Otto Porter Jr. is going to be out at least another month, it looks like this season is going to be a total disaster. It’s beginning to look like the Bulls should throw in the towel and try to salvage the season by readying itself for next season. Since we won’t be able to attract any top free agent next year, it seems the next best thing would be to move some of our players who don’t show any signs of being well-balanced players. That includes Ryan Arcidiacono, Shaq Harrison, Kris Dunn and Kornet. Is it possible to trade any or all of those players for an early second-round pick next year? We’d be far better off if we lucked into a player who can make as much of an impact on the game as Daniel Gafford is now doing. I’m not suggesting that we move any of the core, but I’m not necessarily against it if it brought us one true All-Star player next season. Perhaps Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen for a top 10-20 type player. It’s evident that the Bulls will have to make some moves soon to move the franchise in the right direction. The status quo will not work. Especially if management stands behind Boylen. - Rick L

Only Kris Dunn would have any value of the non-core players you mentioned (and as an aside, wasn’t he recently part of the core?). And his value would be minimal. Over the summer, it was even less but he has played well and might be able to bring back a back-end rotation player or a heavily-protected first-round pick. LaVine and Markkanen wouldn’t bring back an All-Star level player.

And therein lies the rub: If Porter opts in, which is likely, this roster almost certainly will look similar next season. The Bulls have little flexibility next offseason. This is why the Bulls banked on LaVine and Markkanen taking big jumps that, to this point, haven’t happened.

It’s been good to see a more aggressive Lauri Markkanen the last few games. How much do you think his struggles have been on him versus the system Boylen wants to play? – Matt A., Australia

Why can’t it be both? I do think Markkanen struggled early with being mostly relegated to a stationary 3-point shooter. He also missed a ton of open looks, which is on him. With the equal opportunity, multi ball-handler system, Markkanen often faded to the shadows. Again, that’s on both him and the system. Then it became somewhat mental for him. To Boylen’s credit, he has used sets designed to get Markkanen on the move more of late and Markkanen has started to respond.

In your last mailbag, you answered two questions to someone who endured being a ballboy during the Ron Mercer days. I am the same age, and I'm hoping I can get a couple questions answered myself because I survived those days as well as a fan---without the benefit of being the ballboy. It feels like those years all over again right now. The roster might be a little better, but records aren't much better between the teams. “Through thick and thin” was the slogan I remember growing up with as a Bulls fan having just missed the Jordan years. So many things that can be asked about the year so far, so I'll stick to just two for now.

It seemed like Boylen might have let it slip about Lauri having an oblique issue. Lauri's well-documented struggles have been one of bigger storylines I feel Bulls have had this year, and Lauri has been able to keep quiet for the most part it seems on his end. His responses in postgame questions from the meeting haven't generated as much buzz as some of LaVine's interviews. Did Boylen let it slip about his injury, or is there something different to how the Bulls are handling injuries this year?

Secondly, what should fans ACTUALLY make from the struggling attendance? Videos/pictures of empty upper bowl are becoming aplenty on Twitter. Social media makes it easy to gather fans ready for a drastic change within the organization, but how can we expect the organization to respond, if at all, to the struggling attendance at home games?– J. Boa

Anyone who remembers THAT slogan gets two questions, although I already answered your second above. I barely remember that slogan and I covered that era.

Markkanen's oblique issue never landed on the injury report. The injury report is a sensitive topic because most every player has some sort or bump or bruise at this point of the season. Do you list everybody and then list them as probable? That's the approach the Bulls seemed to take last game as nine players landed on the report, including most with minor ailments and listed as probable. Markkanen has four 20-point games this month. He's coming around and the oblique talk will be in the background here.

What does the K.C. stand for? Steven R., via Twitter

Kenneth Carl. But you can call me K.C.

Actually, I don’t mind Kenneth Carl and my college basketball teammates call me Kenny Carl. But I’ve been called K.C. my entire life. My parents were hip to the initials from Day One.

As this "improved" roster has scuttled through the light part of the schedule at basically the same winning percentage as last year (8 wins in 25 = .32, 27 of 82 in 2018 = .329), how likely does it seem that the Bulls will actually win less games this year? Mike K., via Twitter

Can they play the Hawks more? That would be something if it happens, particularly after how widely praised their offseason moves were and the public posturing for improvement by the organization. I still think the Bulls are better than their record indicates. I picked them for 36 wins before the season. But, yes, any way you analyze it, this season has been a disappointment.

Thanks for all the questions. Talk to you soon.

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Bulls mailbag: Is Gar Forman's job in jeopardy? What about Jim Boylen's?

Bulls mailbag: Is Gar Forman's job in jeopardy? What about Jim Boylen's?

While soliciting questions for this week’s mailbag on Twitter, I asked for angst. You delivered angst — lots and lots of angst. You had questions about firings, players underperforming and, with one four-question pile-on, skepticism regarding the coaching performance.

Q: The Sun-Times reported that Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is upset about how this season is going and that he and senior adviser Doug Collins are growing increasingly dissatisfied with general manager Gar Forman, whose job security is “crumbling.” Would firing Forman solve the issues plaguing the team, which seem fairly widespread? - Dave A., Chicago

A: Ownership signed off on trading Jimmy Butler and beginning the rebuild and, like management and coach Jim Boylen, is publicly on record that this season would show improvement. So, yes, ownership, just like management, the coaches and players, is very upset with the poor start. In recent internal discussions, Reinsdorf did emphasize urgency to fix things. That said, a source emphasized that nobody’s job is in imminent jeopardy, including Forman’s. Remember: Executive vice president John Paxson reclaimed his more central role as the face of the franchise and lead decision-maker with the Butler trade. Forman’s power within the organization isn’t what it once was, though ownership still values his scouting and negotiating ability.

The sense around the organization is that’s too early to panic but not too early to be upset. There’s still internal belief that if players start making open shots, a soft Eastern Conference playoff picture could be crashed. That said, the roster improvements haven’t borne fruit in terms of the won-lost record, and players haven’t performed to expectations. Internal concerns about some players’ mental and physical toughness remain. As of now, nobody is being singled out but everyone — management, coaches, players — is under the microscope.

Ownership has overseen a gradual evolution of the front office. Collins came on board. The analytics department expanded. And though it’s still small by league standards, additions like former assistant coach Mike Wilhelm have been made. Brian Hagen has more duties. Ownership will continue to evaluate and possibly evolve the front office further. There is still great confidence in and respect for Paxson, who is the lead decision maker. Whether any changes are made at season’s end will obviously depend on how the remainder of the season transpires.

Q:  How many more embarrassing nights until Jim Boylen is under pressure? It should be clear by now that our roster is pretty good, our assistants are also good but his decisions, especially on defense with the blitzing scheme, are dragging us down. Is the intention of the front office to keep him until the end of the season no matter what? - Stavros S.

Q: I was just wondering, as a lot of Bulls fans are, has Boylen moved any closer to the proverbial "hot seat?" Last anything was mentioned about his relationship with the front office, Boylen talked about how well he was getting along with management. But with a start to the season this bad, has there been any talk about his job being in jeopardy? As fans we'd love to see accountability on some level, and instead all we have is a 6-12 start to the season and no answers from management or ownership. Looking like a long and cold winter for Bulls fans with very little hope on the horizon. - J. Boa

Q: How much longer can this go on before something changes? There seems to be pretty clear evidence at this point that Boylen is not working and there need to be major changes in coaching and management. Are we really going to be with the same coach and GM next year? – Tim G.

Q: I've tried to refrain from Boylen-bashing. But during the Portland game, I thought he was outmaneuvered by Terry Stotts at every turn. They had a plan every time down the court and swatted away adjustments from Boylen like they were playing a JV team. You've said repeatedly that this coach is "more aligned" with management than you've ever seen, but do you see any cracks in that? Also: would ownership allow GarPax to hire yet another coach? – Alejandro Y.

A: What has been reported multiple times but sometimes gets forgotten is that it wasn’t just management that believed in Boylen but ownership. Everyone was on board to extend Boylen for three seasons, albeit at an annual salary that’s on the low end of NBA coaches. So it’s not prohibitive if the Bulls ever want to move off Boylen’s money, although I’ve heard no inkling of that this early into his extension. Remember: The Bulls are still paying Fred Hoiberg this season as well.

Paxson has talked publicly numerous times about Boylen’s care factor, teaching of fundamentals in practice and ability to hold players accountable. That’s the culture template Paxson desires. As for the schematic stuff, Boylen talks about establishing a style of play at both ends. Unfortunately for the Bulls, neither side is producing results for now. Collins offers plenty of input. I’d have to believe that if the systems Boylen is trying to establish at both ends continue to struggle, Paxson and Collins would suggest changes.

For instance, Boylen talks about the open shots the Bulls get and how players are underperforming based on their career percentages. For some of the bigger names on the roster, this is true. But there’s a reason why Kris Dunn is wide open on 3-pointers. So even if Dunn is taking what Boylen calls a good shot because it’s open, is that a good thing? Dunn is a career 30.7 percent shooter from 3-point range.

Similarly, while the Bulls have either led or hung near the top of the league in forced turnovers and points off turnovers all season, is the high-risk, high-reward defensive scheme worth it if the Bulls end up in scramble mode so often? They often get beat on the boards because they’re out of rebounding position and also rank near the top of the league in allowing open shots. As of Tuesday night, the Bulls ranked 15th in defensive rating.

What’s your best guess why Bulls ownership sticks with John Paxson running the show? What’s the Bulls’ won/loss record since he took over? La Beets, via Twitter

Since succeeding Jerry Krause in April 2003, Paxson has compiled a 668-646 regular-season record. The Bulls have made the playoffs 11 times in his 16 full seasons, winning five series and advancing to one conference finals. Management has hired five coaches in this span.

As for ownership’s belief, Jerry Reinsdorf is famously loyal and told Paxson he had been interviewing him for years without Paxson knowing it when he tabbed Paxson to replace Krause. He respects Paxson’s toughness, competitiveness and commitment to the organization. He and his son, Michael, think Paxson and general manager Gar Forman have drafted well and constructed two separate rosters that produced winning basketball — the Scott Skiles-coached teams centered on Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich and the Tom Thibodeau-coached teams centered around Deng, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. This is why ownership signed off on the current rebuild. It believed in management’s ability to construct a roster from the ground up. That’s also why this season is so disappointing. This was supposed to be the season that progress manifested itself in the won-loss record. To this point, that hasn’t happened.

We criticize Boylen for the Bulls performance this season, the rotations, schemes, etc. How much criticism should be given to Chris Fleming and Roy Rogers as the "offensive" and "defensive" coordinators? I'd have to image those two have a reasonable influence on Boylen and his decision-making? If all of us on Twitter can see what's going wrong with the rotations, and schemes, surely those two are seeing it and should be providing suggestions or adjustments to Boylen? Or is Boylen just a coach who shuts those two out and it's his way? Curious to hear how their relationship is with the head coach.  – Tyler P.

I’m in the early stages of forming relationships with Fleming and Rogers myself, so I can’t claim to be an expert on how much influence they have. Of course they have input. And Fleming in particular carried a strong, leaguewide reputation for his offensive creativity. What I do know is that any head coach has final say and only acts on the assistants’ suggestions with which he agrees. For instance, anyone around the team knew that Boylen didn’t always agree with Fred Hoiberg’s handling of players. But he supported his head coach because that’s the assistant’s job. I also know that Boylen compliments both Fleming and Rogers often. So I’m sure he values their input and their relationships are strong. He recommended their hirings. The thing about failure with any team sport is that it’s a shared entity.

Will the major pieces on this roster be here at season’s end? – Andrew H.

For now, the plan is to ride it out with the current players and coaches. Remember, this team became the trendy pick to make the playoffs from several prognosticators following offseason moves that were widely praised. If this poor play continues, everything has to be considered.

How does Michael Reinsdorf feel about Boylen throwing players under the bus? – Chicago Jon, via Twitter

I don’t know what Reinsdorf’s reaction was, but I do know there was some support for LaVine’s take that he was unfairly singled out. Pulling LaVine solo in that instance was a bad look.

Is there a reason Wendell Carter Jr. won’t shoot wide open mid-range shots? Are the coaches telling him not to? He seems so reluctant to do it, and his above average jump shot was one of his selling points coming out of school. His ability to moderately stretch the defense was supposed to open driving lines and keep defenders honest if he pops for a shot or looks for a pass, but his unwillingness to even think about shooting causes the defense to collapse into the paint. Teams simply know he won’t shoot. Can you shed any light on this? – Patrick S.

Remember those Al Horford comps? Sigh.

The Bulls average 6.8 midrange shots per game, the third-fewest in the league. So there’s that. As for Carter, Boylen was asked that this week and Boylen said he wants any player to take open, good shots. There is definitely an emphasis on 3-pointers or shots at the rim in this offense. Carter said that emphasis hasn’t affected him and that he’s just trying to make the right play. You’re right, though: The right play at times would be for him to rise up without hesitation and shoot it.

I’m writing to you as a 27-year-old Bulls fan who was a ballboy when the Bulls used to trot out Ron Mercer, Corey Benjamin and Dalibor Bagaric. I believe this team has some talent but I disagree on the schemes and the talent evaluators. My question to you is what did they see in Chandler Hutchison? This is a first-round pick who can’t even crack the lineup with Otto Porter Jr. out with an injury. My second question is why can’t we throw the ball to Lauri Markkanen in the post? I think they need to get creative and watch what the Mavericks do with Kristaps Porzingis or what the Grizzlies do with Jaren Jackson Jr. That’s all. Have a great day.  – Tyler B.

Anyone who endured that era gets two questions.

It’s too early to definitively judge Hutchison, although the early returns are underwhelming. Particularly since he is developing an injury prone label. The Bulls scouted him early and valued his athleticism and versatility and ability to guard multiple positions because of his positional size and length. However, he was a four-year player at a non-blue-chip program. And while he has showed flashes of defensive and rebounding ability, not to mention dunking prowess, it’s all been in flashes.

As for Markkanen’s usage, the Bulls need to try something to get him on the move or at the rim more often than just launching 3-pointers. Zach LaVine himself advocated for Markkanen to post up more, something he did in the season opener at Charlotte when he went for 35 points and 17 rebounds.

I want to travel to Chicago for All-Star weekend, but I would only bite the bullet if Zach LaVine was in the All-Star game (although dunk contest would be an exciting night). Do I reserve my ticket now or do you believe Zach won't be an East All-Star? - Devin M.

Count me in the camp that truly believed LaVine would make that game this season. He had similar stats to Kemba Walker last season and Walker got that hometown bump to make it as a reserve. LaVine also played in training camp and the preseason with an edge and focus that seemed to scream, “This is my time.” But it hasn’t played out that way yet this season. My advice would be to catch the weekend on TV. LaVine versus Zion or Aaron Gordon in the dunk contest could be fun.

Why do the Bulls switch so much? – Theodore M.

When is Boylen going to realize that his hard blitz PnR defensive scheme is easily picked apart by the opponent? - Derek B., via Twitter

Well, you have to guard the pick-and-roll with some strategy. These two questions represent two of the options. And the Trail Blazers in particular exposed how much the Bulls are struggling with both. On the blitz, the Bulls’ big man is so high up on the floor that he has a lot of ground to cover to rejoin the play and/or get in rebounding position. On the switch, the Bulls don’t have a ton of veteran, experienced players and communication sometimes lacks. So they either flub the switch or, in the Trail Blazers’ game, Damian Lillard just picked apart the defense to find the mismatch. Often, that was Carmelo Anthony, isolated in the midpost, hitting the midrange jumper he’ll probably be able to sink until he’s 60.

What is your prediction on who the Bulls will draft at No. 7? - PM Blue, via Twitter

After all this angst, it’s never a bad idea to laugh.

Thanks for all your questions. Talk to you soon.

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

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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