The Worst Front Office in the NBA: The Chicago Bulls

Well guys, I waited. I pitched it a couple places, but it didn't take. I don't care. I still wanted to write it. I didn't have an editor, so it's long, but deal with it. You feel this pain too.

For clarity's sake, I will try to keep the narrative minimal and stick to facts. For this reason, you will *not* hear me ride about the Iowa-Iowa State, New Mexico-New Mexico State theory of Gar Forman's brain that much. You will not hear me complain too hard about Jerry Reinsdorf needing "yes" men.

You will still be disappointed by the facts.

Let's examine the Chicago Bulls front office:
Chairman/Alternate NBA Governor: Jerry Reinsdorf
Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations: John Paxson
General Manager, Basketball Operations: Gar Forman.

For all intents and purposes, I will be focusing on these three.

A Brief and Neutral History of Gar Forman

Gar Forman went to college at Utah State University, and was a coach & recruiting coordinator at Utah State (81-82), College of the Desert (82-85), New Mexico State (85-87, 88-94), Cal Poly Pomona (87-88), and Iowa State (94-98). He joined the Chicago Bulls organization in 1998-1999, the season after Michael Jordan retired, as a Scout. From 2004 to 2009, he was the head of Direct of Player Personnel, before his promotion to GM in May 2009.

Pre-Bulls: In his college coaching & recruiting career, he was accused of directing staff to guide "potential transfers through sham correspondence courses at the notorious Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God (SCAG)." It is worth noting that he was eventually cleared of all his accused wrong doing.

However, it is also worth noting that in November 1999 – after Forman had joined the Bulls organization – Sports Illustrated wrote a piece on how lower tier assistant coaches take the ax for higher-ups, acting as scapegoats. It would be one thing if this lightly implied Forman's guilt, but the story outright names Forman:

Chris Nordquist found himself in a situation similar to Oran's
when he was a restricted earnings coach at New Mexico State in
1992, making $16,000 a year. His duties on the Aggies staff had
little to do with teaching zone traps or drop steps. Nordquist
claims that at the direction of coach Neil McCarthy and assistant
Gar Forman, his main job consisted of guiding potential transfers
through sham correspondence courses at the notorious Southeastern
College of the Assemblies of God (SCAG), in Lakeland, Fla. He
would also forge players' signatures on school paperwork, furnish
test answers and, when necessary, even do homework for the

Plenty of times, Nordquist says, he would show up at the
basketball office at five a.m. to do the players' course work.
"When Neil and Gar got to the office, they'd sort of wink and
say, 'How's it going?'"…

"Once I complained [to Forman about the
cheating], and he said, 'We have the names of 70 guys who would
take your job in a heartbeat.' When you're in that position,
there are a lot of psychological [pressures]. I feel like I had a
choice, yet I didn't have a choice.'"

The same article eventually credits Gar Forman with institutionally installing a lack of punishment for higher-ups: he successfully argued that assistant coaches cannot be held responsible for exercising institutional control. This is worth noting because, without this legal argument, Gar Forman would have been found guilty of his rule breaking. In fact, he essentially was:

Having moved on to an assistant's
job at Iowa State, where he was at first prohibited from
recruiting off-campus, Forman appealed the ruling. In July 1996
he was cleared when the NCAA agreed with his argument that
assistant coaches cannot be held responsible for exercising
institutional control. "Gar Forman walked away with a clean bill
of health," says Darnell. "His name was removed from the
violations report."

But that's just his NCAA career.

With the Bulls as a scout, it is hard to rate him on his pro-scouting abilities, as he joined after the team had completely unloaded its worthwhile personnel. Does anyone remember the post-MJ years? There's arguments to be made that coaching, drafting, and scouting was all sorts of wrong, but because our players were bad and poorly coached, it's quite hard to pin down a single professional scout for any wrongdoing. We cannot truly evaluate his work from 1998-1999 to 2004 as a scout (though we can say the regular season record from that time was 119-341, an outright organization failure of the worst kind).

Then he became Director of Player Personnel. This job title is common, but typically refers to a collegiate person who is one of the top dogs in recruiting Junior College and high school players. This is obviously not a thing with the NBA. Given his history as a scout, his job was most likely split between scouting college players, scouting NBA players for trades, and heading up interdepartmental communication. (This last bit may seem like a joke, but it is literally an aspect on a Director of Player Personnel's standard job description.)

We could examine the quality of trades that happened in this time, but it would be hard, as we'd be scapegoating not-the-top-dog for the top-dog's moves. For this reason, I will hold off, to examine…

A Brief and Neutral History of John Paxson

John Paxson was a solid NBA player, best known for hitting a glorious three pointer against the Phoenix Suns playing for our Chicago Bulls. After retiring, he was an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls for their first NBA Championship after Jordan's baseball retirement. After the season, he retired as a coach to do the job Stacey King now has as announcer; this much is fact.

An actual, official, on the record quote has Paxson saying: "I knew full well the time commitment coaching takes. But after that year I missed my wife and kids so much. I realized that if I didn’t prioritize, I’d miss everything that they were doing." With this, it is unlikely believe Paxson is the hardest worker in the organization – but still a forgivable matter, as, personally, I don't even have a girlfriend but I don't like sticking around the office till 8 at night. Let us ignore the negative slant of this quote for now, as it only suggests a narrative that may or may not be true.

In 2003, he left announcing to become the Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Chicago Bulls. This would again be a hard thing to judge a person on, another issue of "who did what in the organization?" viewed by an outsider who wasn't there.

But what we can do is this…

An Examination of GarPax, Round 1: Trades made while Forman is Director of Player Personnel, Paxson is General Manager

Thus, beginning in 2004, we can look at the organization's transactions and results and, at least in notable part, hold it for or against Gar Forman and John Paxson, for better or worse.

From 2004 to 2009:

04-05: the NBA made 47 trades. The Bulls were participants in 2 of them; this is above-average (average is 1.62; there were 29 teams at the time).

05-06: the NBA made 47 trades. The Bulls were participants in 3 of them; this is well above-average (average is still 1.62).

06-07: the NBA made 37 trades. The Bulls were participants in 3 of them. We're still in above-average land.

07-08: NBA had 36. The Bulls had 2.

08-09: The NBA had 55. The Bulls had 3 in 48 hours (Larry Hughes, Thabo, and Gooden/Nocioni.) Still above-average.

It is safe to that in round 1 of GarPax, the team traded a fine amount. Whether we "won" these trades or not is debatable – from a neutral standpoint, without looking too far into things, there were times where we absolutely fleeced the other team (Eddie Curry for draft picks), and there were times we salary dumped and got next to nothing.

I will also note Paxson was EVP of Basketball Operations from 2003-2009, then Forman and Paxson got a sort of double-promotion, where they both got a higher job title and, presumably, more sway.

I would point to drafting in this era, but first, we must incorporate the whole picture, for which I will use as my transition to…

An Examination of GarPax, Round 2: Drafting pre-Lloyd, during-Lloyd, and post-Lloyd.

Matt Lloyd.

As Blog-A-Bull has previously pointed out, Matt Lloyd held a large hand in American scouting for the Bulls; he was Director of College Scouting from 2007-2011.

With the crapshoot nature of second round picks, we will ignore them entirely except for when one of them becomes a good player – ie, victories count there, but losses do not. I will judge these picks using factual criteria: if they played for four or more years in the league, they were "acceptable". If they became a quality player – ie, someone who was a quality starter, or is on the bench but could largely be considered a starter (see: Gibson, Taj) – they are "good". If they have less three seasons in the league, the jury is out (praise Doug). If they have reached multiple all star games, they have been "great". If they were out of the league within six years, they were "bad".

Non-collegiate/European draft picks can be chalked up to the head of European scouting, for the purpose of this exam.

I will also note that there is a narrative that the people GarPax has drafted have either been "winners" – college players from Final Four schools – or have a Gar connection – typically Iowa, Iowa State, New Mexico, or New Mexico State.

From 2004 to 2007, the Chicago Bulls drafted, pre-Lloyd:

Jackson Vroman (31st overall, 2nd rounder, Iowa State University) – ignored, but Iowa State. (Also Lebanese?.)
Chris Duhon (38th overall, 2nd rounder, Duke University) – acceptable. Final four school.
Ben Gordon (3rd overall, 1st rounder, UConn) – good. (Or acceptable.) Final four school.
LaMarcus Aldridge (2nd overall, 1st rounder, Texas) – great, but was immediately traded for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa afterwards. I suggest we do not judge Aldridge as the pick, but instead do:
Tyrus Thomas – acceptable. He's out of the league now, but he did last a while, if only on his potential. The truly disappointing part was the #2 overall pick, was trading Aldridge for him. But he wasn't out of the league in six years.
Viktor Khryapa – bad, but also European scouting.
Rodney Carney (16th overall, 1st rounder, Memphis) – bad. Worth noting he was traded.

In the Lloyd era, the Bulls drafted:
Joakim Noah (9th overall, 1st rounder, Florida) – great. Final four school.
Aaron Gray – ignored but ha ha remember Aaron Gray?
JamesOn Curry – ignored.
Sonny Weems – ignored.
Derrick Rose (1st overall, 1st rounder, Memphis) – great. Final four school.
Taj Gibson (26th overall, first rounder, USC) – good.
James Johnson (16th overall, Wake Forest) – acceptable.
Kevin Seraphin – bad, but not collegiate, and immediately traded to clear capspace for "Lebron". Ignorable.
Malcolm Lee – ignored.
Jimmy Butler (30th overall, 1st round, Marquette) – great.

And in the post-Lloyd era, the Bulls have drafted:
Marquis Teague (29th overall, 1st round, University of Kentucky) – Bad. Final four player that fulfilled another GarPax narrative I'll touch on later.
Tony Snell (20th overall, 1st round, University of New Mexico) – the jury is still out, but it sure looks like he won't be in the league for long. Note the UNM connection.
Cameron Bairstow – ignored, but again note the University of New Mexico conection.
Gary Harris & Jusuf Nurkic – let's ignore these for who they traded for, as it was very known the trade would happen after the players were drafted. Doug McDermott – ignored, but looks like he'll set a record for the Absolutely Most Useless Player Outside of 3 Point Shooting in NBA history. He has anti-defense for defense. His brain is wired in reverse. His awareness in NBA 2k17 will be negative. He is Doug McDermott. We will ignore it in GarPax's favor for now, but it sure looks like a dumb pick. Though he went to Creighton, he is the son of former Iowa State coach Greg McDermott.
Bobby Portis – jury's out obviously, but the most hope we have our of the post-Llloyd era, despite his flaws.

Another narrative that has taken shape is that the Bulls have done minimal draft scouting, and instead, when a player ranked high falls to their spot, they draft him without scouting. This appears to have been the case with Bobby Portis (who by all means may still be good one day) and Teague, where it seems to be obvious to the 28 teams ahead of us who scouted him that he was not an NBA player, but to GarPax, he fell into.

We cannot factually reason that the narrative there is true. What we can reason is that, in all the evidence presented by GarPax, they are bad at scouting beyond where they are comfortable (Europe, colleges and players connected to Gar Forman's collegiate recruiting days, the final four), and that they are generally bad at drafting without a third voice throwing in some college scouting. This much is nearly concretely fact.

An Examination of GarPax, Round 3: Trades made after GarPax's promotions

Same setup as before, but now let's look at 2009 to present day.

09-10: The NBA had 49 trades. The Bulls were participants in 4. Still doing a fine amount of trades.

10-11: NBA - 55. Bulls - 5.

11-12: NBA – 33. Bulls – 0.

12-13: NBA – 51. Bulls – 1.

13-14: NBA – 51. Bulls – 2.

14-15: NBA – 59. Bulls – 0.

We could also look at this season, but the Bulls are at 0, so what does the NBA's average matter? The biggest day of trades is the day of the deadline, unsurprisingly, so we'd even be removing a big chance for GarPax to do something. Let's overlook this year.

It is with this evidence that I suggest when GarPax was promoted, GarPax held more sway. Before then, we made far more trades and were far more adventurous, regardless of who did what and what job title they held. There's a correlation here, even if it's not the causation: we can concretely say the Bulls were more idle after GarPax's promotion.

Maybe this is due to Derrick Rose being drafted. Maybe this is due to Tom Thibodeau fighting for stability or thinking his team had more than enough to win. Maybe it's due to GarPax's trading style. It does not matter: what matters is we can concretely say since GarPax's promotion, the team explores other options less.

You could use this to argue conspiracy style things, like Gar was secretly just trying to work his way up and then fend for his job, or JR only hires Yes-men, bla bla bla: I don't care. What I care is, with this, I suggest the 2009 promotion of Gar and Pax be held as the new era, of which I will look closer into via…

An Examination of GarPax, Round 4: Actually Looking At Every Trade They Made In Since 09-10

09-10: NBA - 49. Bulls - 4.

January 25, 2010: The Chicago Bulls traded Aaron Gray to the New Orleans Hornets for Devin Brown.

Devin Brown hasn't played in the NBA since the Bulls, for whom he averaged 8.5 mpg and 1.8 ppg. Devin Brown was bad. Aaron Gray kept playing until 2013-14. He's now a coach with the Pistons; he retired due to a blood clot in his heart.

This was a salary dump.

February 18, 2010: The Chicago Bulls traded Tyrus Thomas to the Charlotte Bobcats for Acie Law, Ronald Murray and a future 1st round draft pick.

Now this looks like another salary dump – and it sort of was – but we got a future 1st out of it. Good times! Let's ignore what scary things that pick may have ended up being. This was a smooth salary dump, a double win instead of a pure bottom line move.

February 18, 2010: The Chicago Bulls traded John Salmons, a 2010 1st round draft pick (Larry Sanders was later selected), a 2011 2nd round draft pick (Isaiah Thomas was later selected) and a 2012 2nd round draft pick (Robert Sacre was later selected) to the Milwaukee Bucks for Joe Alexander, Hakim Warrick and a 2010 1st round draft pick (Kevin Seraphin was later selected).

Wowsers! This was… another salary dump but with a lot of moving parts. We all sort of knew these moves were coming that year: we wanted to free up a max contract for Lebron. As such, "salary dumps" this year get more of a pass in my book.

June 24, 2010: The Washington Wizards traded Vladimir Veremeenko to the Chicago Bulls for Kirk Hinrich, Kevin Seraphin and cash. Chicago also received a trade exception from Washington.

If you remember this, none of us were really surprised. It was the move that put us into 'max free agent cap space' territory, regardless of Lebron.

So every move that year was a salary dump. Some of them were cool (yay extra first round pick), some of them were not cool (we gave up a first round pick for…. Nothing, and negative-Kirk-Hinrich). Can't say the Wizards trade was any sort of imaginative, or really good, but I'm not here to judge the free agency moves or what the plan was.

We thought we could get Lebron and we dumped the hell out of salary to put us in a position. This year is a push! Congrats GarPax! You weren't entirely worth despising yet.

10-11: NBA - 55. Bulls - 5.

July 8, 2010: The Chicago Bulls traded Hakim Warrick to the Phoenix Suns for a 2011 2nd round draft pick (Charles Jenkins was later selected).

Remember Hakim Warrick? I do. Syracuse player. He was Snell-like, in a way: you would know he was never going to be good, but you'd sit there and say "he could be a teams 4th best big man, maybe", and show some amazing athleticism and then also be the dumbest person to not actually have been an MS-DOS cartridge android trying to solve a physics equation about what's inside of a black hole.

This was, wholly, a salary dump, but we got a 2nd rounder out of it! Yay and stuff.

July 8, 2010: The Utah Jazz traded Carlos Boozer and a 2011 2nd round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls for Mario Austin.

Remember this was a trade? Obviously it was a sign-and-trade, but hey guys. GarPax made a trade. Let's go out on a limb and say, the numbers for this year were misleading as such.

July 22, 2010: The Golden State Warriors traded C.J. Watson to the Chicago Bulls.

See above.

February 22, 2011: The Chicago Bulls traded James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors for a 2011 1st round draft pick (Norris Cole was later selected).

Surprising Thibs didn't get more out of JJ, in retrospect. On the other hand, this was a steal: Johnson, at the time, looked like a fringe NBA player, especially behind Luol's insane minutes. If I recall correctly, Johnson had one or two decent games in a row right before the deadline, and we traded him under the illusion of value.

At the time, we totally thought we'd won – we got a first rounder for a player who was garbage! Miracles!

In retrospect, Johnson is still in the league and would be the best non-Butler wing player we have on the team today, should he end up here today magically. This was a fairly even trade, and one that also qualifies as a salary dump.

June 23, 2011: The Chicago Bulls traded Norris Cole, Malcolm Lee and cash to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Nikola Mirotic.

Chalk it up to European scouting. Not a salary dump (though I recall us arguing that we were trying to delay the arrival of salary to avoid the tax), and Mirotic may be a great player. He could be terrible forever, too.

I'm not going to pretend I'm a scout. What I am going to say is: thus far, 2 years of GarPax, every move made has been to dump salary or delay the arrival of salary.

11-12: No Bulls trades! Nothing to improve here, I guess, GarPax?

12-13: NBA – 51. Bulls – 1.

July 16, 2012: The Atlanta Hawks traded cash to the Chicago Bulls for Kyle Korver. Chicago also received a trade exception from Atlanta.

Wow. The Bulls follow up a year of salary dumping and a year of nothing, with… trading away one of the best 3 point shooters in the game finally coming around on defense for literally nothing.

I would even be willing to say a trade exception had value, if the Bulls had literally ever used one, but they haven't. They, with love in the time of GarPax, only dump salary, not taking it on.

This is where the anger of GarPax is beginning to take true hold: the team is obviously flawed. We cleared space for a game changing player, which ended up being Boozer not Bron, but we used that space imaginatively, to build an entirely solid bench ("The Bench Mob") in a single off-season and giving a coach the immediate chance to give the team an identity.

And then, the years following, we allowed those pieces to leave for nothing, one time even trading the piece away outright for nothing, and largely sat on our hands, even as our star player was severely injured with no real timeline for return.

13-14: NBA – 51. Bulls – 2.

January 6, 2014: The Chicago Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum, a 2014 1st round draft pick, a 2015 2nd round draft pick and a 2016 2nd round draft pick. Chicago has the option to swap 1st round draft picks with Cleveland in 2015 (if Cleveland's selection is within 15-30)

Seriously? The Bulls haven't made a trade with even the illusion of directly improving the team in almost a half-decade at this point. This was an outright salary dump, and while that had happened in the past, this one was clear: avoid the salary tax, as opposed to free up space to sign someone.

This wasn't basketball related. This was cheapness related. Is that on GarPax or the owner? Not my exam here. What I can say is the people making moves in charge of this team are unimaginative and cheap. Further evidenced by…

January 21, 2014: The Brooklyn Nets traded Tornike Shengelia to the Chicago Bulls for Marquis Teague.

FasdfADSFHASFA;SLFKFASF8ASjsfdf;ksfg. This was a salary dump. Again. Teague was bad, but we traded him for thin-air, not even a second rounder in six decades from now.

Do we call Dougie's trade this year or the year after? Basketball reference listed it as neither (???), but...

14-15: NBA – 59. Bulls – 0.

0 trades, outside of the Doug McDermott draft day "Have Your Way With Me" trade.

GarPax saw the team going into last year, and heading out of last year, and said, "This is the best an NBA team can do". Or, based on everything else so far, said: "There is no way we can provide the illusion of pursuing quality while also dumping salary."

So they're bad at trades, and either cheap or forced to be cheap with the owner. What about how they treat every other employee? What about the quality of the work they do elsewhere?

The Training Staff

There is more to a basketball team than simple drafting and trading. This notably includes our training staff, which we believe to be terrible. I have actually called in a friend who is a trainer for a sports team for his opinion on some major injury mishaps.

Luol Deng spinal tap:
"That's more of a doctor thing. A trainer wouldn't be the guy to diagnose meningitis or treatment."

Omer Asik fractured tibula:
"There are tests for that. If a player was hurting there, a trainer should be able to detect it. It's improbable a trainer would send a player back on the floor with that injury."

Joakin Noah plantar fasciitis:
"You never play with plantar fasciitis. It stems from poor form with running; it's common with heavier players and 'big men' in basketball because their weight really comes down on it. But the key to it is resting and letting it heal, as its inflammation. A smart trainer wouldn't let them play on it, even if the player wanted it."

I asked for comments about Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, but they just kind of shrugged those off as matters of opinion on rest-versus-play. So, I will give Fred a pass on that.

What I will say is, I have no idea how Fred won Trainer Of The Year within two years after the Omer Asik incident. That is something that outright does not make sense. Fred has been gone since 2014, but before that, was Trainer under the entirety of GarPax's time GarPaxing.

I would rant about how the injured players eventually left and/or our staff damaged their value ("Let's murder Luol so he can't resign to another team", or something), but it's hard to do that until Joakim Noah signs to the Knicks.

It's also worth noting that, since Fred left after 2014, the Bulls… replaced him with Fred's assistant Jeff Tanaka and added another assistant trainer, but didn't bring in an outside hire or really even interview outside candidates. The people in the organization are the same.

Analytics and Sports Science

The Bulls… uh. I mean, I'll let BaB do the talking here in full, but basically: other teams have full-on analytics departments, and we do not. Other teams have been working on using this technology for at least five years, and we had been putting our hand over Thibs' analytic mouth as he was trying to avoid drowning for a long time, and only after hiring Hoiberg said, heh, maybe science is a thing that has lead to good and not evil.

That's an oversimplification, when I had been trying to be neutral here, so let's do it this way:

NBA Champions Golden State Warriors Staff Directory on their website lists Sammy Gelfand as the man in charge of their analytics. Here's a brief interview with GSW GM Bob Meyers that mentions him:

I’ve noticed (basketball analytics coordinator) Sammy Gelfand sometimes rebounds Stephen Curry’s shots in practice. Is this part of how you guys integrate everybody?

Myers: Yeah. I think that a lot of people are underutilized in any company. So, I'll even ask Sammy Gelfand, as the trade deadline approaches, even if it's not in his job title, I'll tell him: "Email me 10 ideas of things maybe we're not considering looking at." And that's not necessarily his job description. He's at the forefront of our analytics department, so, maybe there's something we're not seeing, analytically. All it is is information and I think it's wise to use each employee in our ops department because they all have strengths and you want to get as much out of your employees as people you work with.

The person in the Bulls' equal position started this year and is named Steve Weinman. By all accounts, he has an analytics leaning, having done it in the D-League for years, but does not appear to have the same type of… synergy… or value with the Bulls as Gelfand does with GSW.

In short, we're cheap, and we do not care about quality, when it comes to hiring staff.


Alas, coaching. Let's examine our coaches in the first round of GarPax, and how they were treated.

Scott Skiles 2003-2007 (please note this includes a year before the GarPax monster):

165 wins, 172 losses, 10 wins 12 losses in playoffs. .490 regular season, .455 playoffs. Fired halfway through a season – lost the team, would've been fired by any organization in that spot, I think.

Pete Myers, 2007: 0 wins, 1 loss. Interim coach for one game before Jim Boylan was… then named head coach for the remainder of the season. Somehow still in the Bulls organization.

Jim Boylan, 2007-2008: 24 wins, 32 losses. Was not retained after the season ended, which makes sense, as he still seemed to underperform.

And let's look at them in the second round of GarPax, since '09, and let's look at how they were treated.

Vinny Del Negro, 2008-2010: 82 wins, 82 losses; 4 and 8 playoffs. Was literally strangled and then criticized for not apologizing for not being sorry for what he did to cause a grown self-proclaimed family man to strangle him. Fired; was a below-average coach with more yay-ra-ra than strategy ("we've contracted VDN").

From the Sun-Times' Lacy J. Banks, per SBN:

"It never should have happened, and I never should have done it," Paxson said Monday. "It was a heat-of-the-moment thing, and I was very frustrated with the way we were playing.

"What also disappointed me is that [Del Negro] never owned up to making a mistake. That says more about him than it does me. I was trying to protect my player [Noah, who was coming back from injuries], I did it in the wrong way and I'm not proud of that."

Tom Thibodeau: 255 and 139 regular season, 23 and 28 playoffs. Fired with the world's worst press release over what seems to amount to "not giving enough credit to GarPax for providing the roster they did and then doing nothing to improve it as I have previously demonstrated".

Seriously. That's, that's why.

It's also worth noting Ron Adams was fired for correctly telling his bosses that trading Kyle Korver for nothing, letting CJ Watson go, and signing Kirk Hinrich above market value were bad ideas.

They then hired Fred Hoiberg – The Mayor of Iowa State – and provided the same exact roster, minus an old center and replaced with a rookie center.

But how do they treat the players?

Again, obviously Luol Deng was mistreated. A quick summary: he was viewed as soft and injury prone, a player we were looking to trade pre-Rose. When he finally got healthy and got a coach who told him a 3 pointer is worth more than a long 2 pointer, his value went up. When he get older and our budget worried about it, we played him to the bone. When he got sick playing it to the bone, we misdiagnosed him and almost killed him. Let's pretend that's not fully the Bulls' fault...

What still would the Bulls' fault is the way the information was reported to press. If you recall, we were MAD at Luol that he was missing games for so long, until it was finally clear the dude was actually close to death.

Let's look at Rose's rest game this season. Was it medical related? Perhaps, perhaps not. The way it was reported was, Rose balked at the last minute on a game and didn't want to play so he sat. I cannot think of another team that has done that with a player.

What about Joakim Noah? I'm hopeful he resigns for a lower amount, but if he goes anywhere else on Earth, I won't be mad at him. He was an MVP contender and a DPOY winner - and then we signed a HOFer who plays his position and knocked him out of position. A year later, he moves to the bench, where the coach makes up a story to say it was Joakim's idea. Joakim's value goes down as he's still healing and played poorly last year, but is the saving grace of the bench's offense. He then gets hurt. We win a few games. He comes back. He gets hurt. He comes back too soon, and is out for the season.

We were shopping a trade of him, all the while destroying him physically, in a way to get his value down?. I can't figure out if they were trying to get a trade of him for less than he is worth, or if they are hoping that with his value down, he will resign for a value contract. I hope its the latter and not the former, but it still seems odd that everything always plays out that way.

And last, when it comes to treating players poorly, I want to mention a player that usually isn't mentioned. Not Rose, not Jo, not Jimmy Butler (though you could throw "not signing him for the extra million and letting him bet on himself so we have to sign him to a max contract later" is up there).

Taj Gibson.

Taj was benched with Boozer around - which may or may not have made sense; he worked well with the bench and was a great sixth man, he finished out games like a starter over Boozer, whatever. That part doesn't matter.

Taj was told he would become the starter after Boozer left. He then denied it, so maybe it was made up (like Fred's story of Joakim asking to be benched). But let's say he was told that. GarPax then signs Pau Gasol at the same position as Joakim Noah the year after he was an MVP nominee, while promising Pau Gasol the starting position. Essentially, 3 people were told or lead to believe they would start at 2 positions.

Accidental or not, this is an organizational failure of respect on every level in every spot you could possibly spot one.

In short, since GarPax's promotion, we had one good off-season – the failure of getting Lebron, but still re-loading and getting a deep bench – followed by cheapness, haste, and poor moves at every corner. We traded away a 3 point shooter for nothing. We let a backup big man walk away when we could've traded him. We had no analytics department until we absolutely had to, and then we promoted from within. We had the worst trainer in the NBA, and then when he left, we hired his assistant from within. Our coach searches have primarily been single-candidate. Our drafts without Lloyd have focused on Gar's connections, final four prospects, and those who were ranked so highly we couldn't even bother to watch a game of before drafting them because they fell. When we fire someone, we do it classlessly.

But is the problem Gar? No. There is nothing to signify that it isn't Pax, too; they are essentially tied to the hip. Every time you see someone call for Gar's head, you should but in: "Pax, too." Bert is nothing without Ernie, and Ernie is nothing without Bert.

But what about Kermit? Is the problem deeper than the two-headed monster running our front office? Is out our owner?

A Brief and Neutral History of Jerry Reinsdorf

"Basketball is a game. Baseball is a religion."

Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Bulls.

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