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.
The Bulls are looking to hire a new front office executive who will have full control over basketball decisions, so it would be tough not to view any transition to another role for Paxson as a demotion. At least one candidate has reportedly already turned down the Bulls.
The Chicago Bulls are making some major changes to their front office after struggling over the past few seasons.
The Bulls have begun a formal search for a top executive who would be given full authority over basketball decisions, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Two of the possible candidates for the position include Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Toronto Raptors GM Bobby Webster.
Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and GM Gar Forman have been informed of the search, and it is possible that both could remain with the franchise. Wojnarowski reports that Paxson will likely continue with Chicago in an advisory role, while ownership will have more conversations with Forman going forward. Forman has been the GM of the Bulls since 2009, and he could be reassigned to a scouting position.
The Bulls are 22-43 this season and have not posted a winning record since 2015-16. Franchise consultant Doug Collins has reportedly told the team that a change is needed, and he was said to be opposed to the hiring of Fred Hoiberg a few years back.
Karnisovas is credited with helping to turn the Nuggets into a Western Conference contender, while Webster has worked with Masai Ujuri in Toronto and helped assemble a championship roster last year. Bulls fans will welcome the change after several years of disappointing play.
The Chicago Bulls have been a struggling franchise the past few seasons, and they are expected to make some changes to their front office.
NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson reported on Sunday that the Bulls are looking to make an addition to their front office. According to Johnson, the person who is hired would “take on the day-to-day operations and become a fresh voice and face of the franchise.”
John Paxson is currently the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Bulls. Gar Forman is the general manager, but the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley says Forman’s status is in question.
Cowley reports that franchise consultant Doug Collins has been saying the team needs a change. Collins reportedly was critical of Forman’s hiring of Fred Hoiberg as the team’s head coach prior to the 2015-16 season.
Forman reportedly would likely be reassigned to a scouting position if a new GM is hired.
The Bulls are 19-36 this season and have not had a winning record since 2015-16.
It was not all that long ago that the Chicago Bulls were one of the premier franchises in all of sports, but they have quickly become one of the worst teams in the NBA. Fans are tired of all the losing, and a collection of them are planning to show the team how badly they want to see changes at the top of the organization.
A Facebook fan group called “Fire GarPax” has officially labeled March 6 “#FireGarPaxDay.” The Bulls are scheduled to play a nationally televised game against the Philadelphia 76ers on ESPN that day, and a Facebook event started by the group is calling for fans to showcase their disdain for general manager Gar Forman and president of basketball operations John Paxson.
“On March 6 our Chicago Bulls play the Philadelphia 76ers in a nationally televised game on ESPN. Time to let the whole country know how us Bulls fans feel,” the event description reads. “I encourage a peaceful protest of John Paxson and Gar Forman. Let’s disrupt the entire game with Fire GarPax chants and fill the UC with Fire GarPax shirts and signs. Again a peaceful protest is all we need to be heard.”
Despite the team’s 11-40 record, the Bulls still rank second in the NBA in home attendance, drawing just under 20,000 fans per game. If fans get behind the “Fire GarPax” movement, it could be an embarrassing night in Chicago on March 6.
The Bulls decided to fire head coach Fred Hoiberg earlier this season and turn things over to Jim Boylen, and that move has been somewhat of a disaster. One former NBA coach blasted Chicago’s front office this week for the way they have handled the team, so the fans are not alone with their frustrations.
Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson continues to try to navigate the minefield that was laid down when two of his players fought in practice.
Paxson tried to defend himself and the team over accusations that the Bulls have thrown Nikola Mirotic under the bus for his role in a fight with Bobby Portis that severely injured Mirotic.
Word leaked publicly that the Bulls felt that Mirotic was the aggressor in the fight, and sources told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that Mirotic’s camp is not pleased by that — nor the fact that Portis was allowed to practice during his eight-game suspension. Paxson sees it differently.
“There are always two sides,” Paxson said. “In doling out the punishment to Bobby, that’s fairly unprecedented, too, what we did. Like I told you last week, we consulted with the league to make sure we were going about it the right way. We’re confident with what we did. I’ve never been in Niko’s position where something like that happens. We are trying to understand it and work with him and his people. But we can’t just do something for the sake of doing it. It has to be in our best interest too.”
Paxson also navigated the rumors that Mirotic has more or less told the Bulls that either he or Portis must go, with the executive VP repeatedly saying that the team is trying to be “sensitive.”
“I don’t have that answer right now,” Paxson said. “Your hope is that as time goes on, there can be some communication where it gets resolved. But this is a unique situation.
“We’re supportive of Niko and what he’s going through. We support Bobby too. He’s a part of our team. You sit here in my position, (general manager Gar Forman’s) position, ownership’s position and you see it’s a distraction. But we also have to keep these young guys focused on what they’re doing. And they’re playing games right now and trying to get better every day.”
The Bulls would obviously like a say in how Mirotic and Portis’s futures with the team shake out. This situation doesn’t appear to be improving, though.
Earlier this week, we shared a report that said Adidas may want to keep Dwight Howard from joining the Chicago Bulls because they want to keep their star athletes (Derrick Rose is the other) in separate markets. That’s probably why you didn’t see the Bulls on Dwight’s list of teams where he would like to be traded.
Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson essentially confirmed the report during an appearance on The Waddle & Silvy Show Wednesday.
“We don’t want to talk about other teams’ players, but obviously there are situations out there that you know that you have to look at,” Paxson said when asked about exploring trade options for Dwight. “The other part of it is you hope those types of players want to come here. Sometimes, at least what you hear from agents, I don’t think it has anything to do with basketball. It has more to do with marketing and whatever it is. Those are the things you don’t have under control when the agent gets involved and doesn’t even want to talk to you. All you do is keep trying, and we certainly will.”
That’s pretty weak, if you ask me. I really hope that’s not the case. Why wouldn’t Dwight want to go to a big market like Chicago and play with Derrick Rose? Dwight wants to team with Deron Williams or Chris Paul, but not Rose? The Adidas thing explains it, and that sucks.
Chest bump Eye on Basketball
You can listen to the entire interview here.