I have a lot of bones to pick about KC Johnson’s latest article detailing the moribund Bulls front office.
To begin, it’s the story itself. It’s not much, but that’s part of the problem. We already knew that this season, like our lives as Bulls fans, was pointless and everybody is coming back since it was all fine. And that the plan is that next season will be pointless too.
And this was somewhat encouraging...
the Bulls front office is small by league standards. Team President Michael Reinsdorf has been quietly gauging other organizational structures and is expected to push for more open debate, discussion and exchange of ideas between principal decision-makers.
but then...oh, no: what his this godforsaken trash?
Jim Paxson is an example of someone who could have an increased voice or role.
So...it’s just same same ol’ cronies then. This does read like an organizational shift from Forman to Paxson, but that’s shuffling the table placards at a Bulls family wedding, not actual change. The Bulls do have a small front office, staffed with either Bulls Dynasty or AmesMafia do-nothings and more resources towards ticket sales analytics than basketball analytics. As Stephen Noh of The Athletic lamented, it’s a backwards and under-staffed organization that’s been falling behind for years.
You’d think even if it’s a pipe dream that the loyalty brigade would be transitioned elsewhere, there’d be mention of hiring more people, even (gasp) an outside voice. Listening to some other entrenched guy more would certainly not be accountability. It’s been a bad 6 years, and a really bad past 2. After an initial report of coaching staff changes in the 2016 offseason there turned out to be nothing, and after this season the only change is letting Paxson’s brother call in from the Scottsdale Panera more often?
Now other things I hate about KC’s article:
- Jim Paxson is described as “Bulls director of basketball operations and former Cavaliers general manager who drafted LeBron James”. That’s it. Not that he was the failed and fired GM of the Cavs, or that he’s John Paxson’s brother. Jim was hired by the Bulls in 2006 as a consultant and then scout, with self-professed responsibilities of “Primary focus on NBA Pro Personel [sic]. Secondary focus West coast college draft scouting and NBA minor league responsibility.” So I guess we have him to thank for both the Tony Snell draft pick and the trade of Snell for Michael Carter-Williams? Jim was promoted in 2010-11 and I can’t think of anything that’s gone less than ideal since then.
- Like no mention of Jim as John’s brother, I also find it curious that Michael Reinsdorf isn’t explicitly mentioned as Jerry’s son. Obviously most people know that, but their shared genes are not just happenstance, it’s their primary qualifications for their jobs.
- this line: “there's a demand for change from the outside. And the meetings are expected to produce that, albeit not in the loss of jobs and more subtly than those thirsting for blood might prefer”. That’s right: we’re all ‘bloodthirsty’.
- Couching the use of Jim Paxson’s name as “an example of someone who could have an increased”...like he was just thumbed through the media guide as a possibility? That’d be remarkably useless, if true. This instead was undoubtedly floated as a possibility by the organization, so report it as such.
Ugh, so we had that brief glow of not having to watch Bulls basketball, and already the team is back to stomp on our souls with this tepid nonsense. They’re reportedly going to have a press conference early this week, I’m sure that’ll be more of the same too. And at the risk of sounding too ‘bloodthirsty’, I hope they’re ceremonially impaled and I can drink their blood! Or I’ll merely settle for seeing any non-trivial change.