The Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships in eight years (the middle two years were without Michael Jordan), which stands as one of the most incredible runs in sports history. But they almost didn’t even get that sixth championship.
Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf shared during “The Last Dance” documentary about the final season of the Bulls’ dynasty that the team almost began a rebuilding process after winning their fifth championship in the 1995-1996 season.
“After the fifth championship, which was ’96-’97, we were looking at this team and realizing other than Michael (Jordan), the rest of the guys were probably at the end of their high productive years. We had to decide whether we keep the team together or not. And we realized maybe this was the time to do a rebuild and not try to win a sixth championship,” Reinsdorf said in the documentary.
The team ended up winning the championship, beating the Utah Jazz in six games for their sixth title. But then they broke up after that. Tim Floyd replaced Phil Jackson as head coach. Michael Jordan retired again. Scottie Pippen was traded. Dennis Rodman was released. The Bulls didn’t reach the playoffs again til seven seasons later, and Jordan never played for the team again.
Sources: Mavericks vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley interviewed for the Bulls' general manager job. Finley, a Chicago native who was twice an All-Star in his 15-year career, has spent the last seven seasons in the Dallas front office.
Finley, 47, had a 15-year playing career in the NBA and last played in 2010. He began working with his former team as an intern of sorts a few years later, and then was hired by the front office in 2015. Finley is currently a vice president of basketball operations.
We knew major changes were coming for Chicago’s front office when they began searching for a new head of basketball operations, but this gives us a better idea of the extent of the shakeup.
Forman was named the GM of the Bulls in 2009, replacing John Paxson. Paxson had been the vice president of basketball operations for Chicago before Arturas Karnisovas was hired, and it remains to be seen if Paxson will remain with the team in another role. Paxson is reportedly willing to step down if the franchise would prefer that.
Forman and Paxson have been lumped together in recent years, with Bulls fans using the nickname “Gar-Pax” for them. The term has generally been used when discussing the duo’s inability to bring the team back to championship contention, so it’s no surprise the Bulls have decided to make significant changes.
A major overhaul of the Chicago Bulls’ front office is underway under incoming president Arturas Karnisovas.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Karnisovas is targeting numerous assistant general managers for the GM role with the Bulls. Among them is former NBA player Calvin Booth, who worked alongside Karnisovas in Denver.
Sources: Arturas Karnisovas is planning to start discussing Chicago’s GM job with candidates soon, a pool that’s expected to include several assistant GM’s: Calvin Booth (Denver), Marc Eversley (Sixers), Mark Hughes (Clippers) and Matt Lloyd (Magic) — among others.
Karnisovas is being given a lot of power to completely reshape Chicago’s basketball operations. He was clearly the top choice of the Bulls, and now that they’re hiring him, they’re letting him bring in who he wants. This is good news for the Bulls, who have been dysfunctional at the top for quite a while.
The Chicago Bulls have found a new person to head up their basketball operations.
The Bulls are finalizing a deal with Arturas Karnisovas to be in charge of their front office, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Woj says the Bulls offered Karnisovas the job on Wednesday night and the two sides were working on a deal.
Bulls offered the job to Karnisovas earlier this evening, and negotiated the details through the night, sources said. Karnisovas will leave Denver for Chicago after helping Tim Connelly and Josh Kroenke to rebuild the Nuggets into a Western Conference contender. https://t.co/HMtQ2OivGQ
The Chicago Bulls appear to be focusing on one name as they search for a new top basketball executive.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Bulls have completed a second interview with Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas, and he is the “clear frontrunner” to get the job.
Sources: Denver's Arturas Karnisovas completed a second lengthy interview with the Bulls late this afternoon, which included both owner Jerry Reinsdorf and COO Michael Reinsdorf. Karnisovas is the clear frontrunner in franchise's process to hire a new top basketball executive. https://t.co/9XpAC37Cnp
The Chicago Bulls are searching far and wide for someone who can straighten out their basketball operations department, and former Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo is among the candidates.
Colangelo has interviewed with the Bulls for their top executive position, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
The Bulls interviewed former 76ers president Bryan Colangelo for top basketball operations position, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA@Stadium. Colangelo also has been lead executive in Toronto and Phoenix.
If you ignore the Twitter shenanigans in Philly, Colangelo was a successful executive for many years. He was named the 2007 NBA Executive of the Year with the Toronto Raptors and has plenty of experience. While hiring him could create some issues from a public relations standpoint, you can understand why a team like the Bulls would have interest.
The Chicago Bulls are in the process of interviewing candidates who they believe have a chance to run their basketball operations department, and Wes Wilcox and Danny Ferry are two of the names on the list.
Wilcox, who was formerly the general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, and Ferry, who also worked for the Hawks’ front office in addition to several other teams, reportedly interviewed for the Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations job.
Former Atlanta Hawks GM Wes Wilcox interviewed for the Chicago Bulls Executive VP of Basketball Operations job today, sources tell ESPN. Wilcox helped build an Eastern Conference contender with the Hawks. Wilcox is currently an analyst with NBA-TV.
Wilcox began with the Hawks as their assistant GM in 2012 and was promoted to GM in 2015. Atlanta reached the postseason every year Wilcox was a part of the team’s front office, and they have missed the playoffs the past two years. Wilcox resigned in 2017 and now works as an analyst for NBA TV.
Ferry has history as a Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers GM. He has been working with the Pelicans since 2016, though only became the interim GM two months ago. His comments about Luol Deng contributed to his ousting in Atlanta.
The Bulls are looking to hire an executive who would have full control over basketball decisions, and they have reportedly already been turned down by one candidate. It’s unclear if there is a frontrunner for the job at this point, though they will likely take their time with the process.
The Chicago Bulls are looking to make a major change to their front office structure, and one of their current key decision-makers is willing to step out of the way entirely if that is what the team wants.
Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson is open to resigning from the organization if the Reinsdorfs, who own the the Bulls, feel that is best for the franchise. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times was told by a source that Paxson is prepared to either step aside and act as more of an advisor for the Bulls or step down entirely.
Paxson won three championships with the Bulls as a player, and he was hired as the team’s general manager in 2003 after longtime GM Jerry Krause resigned. The 59-year-old became the VP of basketball operations when Forman was named GM in 2009.
The Bulls are 22-43 this season and have not posted a winning record since 2015-16. The Chicago Sun-Times report notes that Paxson has grown increasingly frustrated with being lumped together with Forman, as the phrase “Gar-Pax” has gained popularity in Chicago in recent years. Typically, fans have used the term when discussing the duo’s inability to bring the team back to championship contention.
This is at least the second name that turned down an interview with the Bulls organization. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad, as the organization is casting a wide net in its search.
There’s one name that has received a high-profile endorsement, but that’s as far as that has gotten. The Bulls will ultimately receive plenty of interest, and with the NBA shut down, they have time to conduct a thorough process and find the right leader for their organization.