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The stories from the press conference, whether we can believe them or not

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My initial reaction to today's interesting and a bit weird Bulls presser (words that describe much of what the Bulls do, it seems) focused on the big-picture significance of a franchise still not clear in it's hierarchy. At least not made clear to outside observers, which matters less relative to how far outside such observers are (we're pretty far out there, here), but still disappointing to watch unfurl.

Basically, Paxson's words make most of what Gar said now seem suspicious in retrospect, since we still don't know who's in charge. Especially Pax's words about not being able to override Gar. Do we really believe that the Executive VP of Basketball Operations can't overrule someone under him? It was a bad decision to have the 'sorry for the push' press conference take place right after the 'coach firing' press conference.

But that's been covered in the earlier post, and it's a dynamic that will be interpreted (fruitlessly, perhaps) many times over when discussing the moves made in this very important offseason. There were a lot of other juicy morsels of information from today's press conference, possibility of outright lies notwithstanding:

  • Vinny was a good coach, really he was great, but we needed a different coach. I get the need for everyone to play nice, but I think Gar did overplay selling of VDN the coach, as it laid out conflicting goals and actions. For instance, Gar would simultaneously say that the Bulls needed a coaching change to improve, yet also say they also improved under VDN (and Pax with the worse 'he didn't fail, and we didn't fail'). I actually do understand what he means by that, but there was little reason to pump up VDN instead of emphasizing that no matter Vinny's results, you're holding this job to a higher standard. Giving VDN a platform to express his thanks for the paid internship was unnecessary as well.
  • The firing of VDN was Gar's decision, and the coaching search is his to lead. Mark Schanowski of CSNChicago asked Forman a great question, leading with the need to show perception of who's in charge and definitively asking about who's leading this search. Again, this is muddy given Pax's words later, but at the time I was pretty happy to hear Gar taking charge like this. His saying the VDN-Pax confrontation had no effect is only accurate in that Vinny's fate was sealed in December.
  • Haven't spent time thinking about new coach, the coaching search starts today. This is clearly a lie, which is fine since the alternative is incompetence. No doubt the Bulls have had candidates in mind, as all organizations do, even before considering that they had VDN fired months ago. But on the other hand they had the same situation before the last coaching search, and while they may have had a list in mind it was 52 days, dozens of interviews, and 2 almost-hires before finding a coach. So maybe they really do just start when the old coach is fired?
  • No parameters, no boxes, no timetables, nobody puts Gar in a corner. Lots of questions were sent Gar's way about what he's looking for in a new coach: how much experience, college or NBA only, offensive philosophy (Gar did say something about a faster pace, but then recoiled back into non-committal land), defensive mindset (featuring the drooling Jim O'Donnell following a rambling 'idiosyncrasies' question with one about Red Holzman), whether a prospective free agent could influence the coaching hire...all basically evaded by Gar. And I mean that to his credit. 
  • Not being held back by the past coaching search debacle. I give KC Johnson a lot of guff, especially in light of his sitting-on the Pax-VDN confrontation story, but he came through today with some solid questions. He reported on a radio appearance earlier on Tuesday about the Bulls not only owing VDN $2m for the final year of his deal, but $750k still to Scott Skiles. KC asked Gar whether paid money would effect the budget of this coaching hire, and whether the coaching budget in general was assumed to be small based on their last hire, to which Gar replied no. KC also reminded Gar about the length of the last search and whether the nightmare of that (not to mention the result) would mean the Bulls would make a concerted effort to expedite this search, to which Gar replied no again, saying the search could even go into July (i.e. free agency) this time. Sort of fits in to the above point: Gar made a real effort not to commit himself to any names, anything in what he's looking for, or that he even started looking.
  • Other stuff: I get a kick out of these things, both the front office with taking part in a rare media appearance, and the different media getting their chance to ask questions, even (especially?) the meandering pointless ones by Jim O'Donnell. Also still laugh at appearances of the usual buzzwords like 'glue guy' and, of course, 'process', which even Gar himself admitted he says often. Then things got a bit strange when Paxson spoke (especially the part about his scrappy upbringing), but hey, that's the Bulls. When it comes to off-the-court, they can be very entertaining.