I’d say this report that ran late tonight ruins the good vibes of Bulls fans, but I’m not sure we have any, refusing to be duped by recent competence. We know it’s not only an average-at-best team, but a franchise with no clear direction and many holes not only to fill but likely multiplying. Accountability is overdue, or at the least some kind of displayed initiative.
Citing “sources familiar with ownership's thinking”, the Chicago Tribune’s KC Johnson published this depressing report on the job security of the Bulls’ front office. Essentially, it’s unchanged:
ownership's trust in Paxson and Forman remains so intact that they would be retained even if the Bulls miss the postseason for a second straight season, one source said.
One internal belief is that this represents the first season in the attempt to open a new championship window after the franchise had ridden out Derrick Rose's maximum contract — and myriad injuries — until finally trading Rose with one season left on the deal. There's also an internal feeling that Forman's publicly stated goal to remain competitive while overhauling the roster over several seasons to get younger and more athletic is working.
You see, they’re basically rookies!
There’s no need to go too far into why ownership is wrong with this “thinking”, and Johnson speaks to the famed Reinsdorf loyalty that sparks a lot of this derangement. As does the credit ownership supposedly gave to basketball operations for “its ability to avoid hamstringing the franchise with bloated, long-term contracts for players with minimal impact”.
So if you were hoping for some kind of team free-fall that would cause embarrassment to the point of initiating change, that isn’t looking likely. Though it really wasn’t likely anyway, with being ‘competitive in the bad conference’ not much of a bar to set for a Jimmy Butler-led team. They’re certainly doing that much, and likely will do so regardless outside of a Butler injury.
As for the roster heading into this year’s trade deadline, I’m not sure what this assumed security means. Because they still could play it either way: trying to remain competitive and arm themselves for a playoff push, or sell off some guys and further ‘overhauling’ the roster. Because I guess ‘younger and more athletic’ was really meant to come over the course of several seasons, and apparently you gotta give Gar Forman and John Paxson that chance to see it through.
I would think that bit about Forman’s ‘goal’ does indicate Butler isn’t going anywhere. Which is fine by me, but interesting they haven’t reassured him or us on that yet. Whereas with the front office we now know they’re safe.