The Bulls traded Jimmy Butler on draft night, seeming to signal a rebuild, where John Paxson said that R-word afterwards and pledged they were going to build from the draft.
But his team came away with fewer picks than than they started the night with. They did not acquire any picks in the 2017 draft, just swapping from slot #16 to #7, did not get any picks in future drafts, and then in a grand finale sold their #38 selection to the Golden State Warriors for cash.
That last move was one...confusing. Even if you have the incorrect opinion that the Jimmy trade was actually good (haha, what?), you then would be on board with Bulls management stockpiling assets, not giving them away on draft night.
Management failed to justify this move. On the night itself, exhausted from making a couple decisions, John Paxson literally had to ask Gar to confirm when saying this bit:
And it keeps us now, with we’re at 12 roster spots, it gives us real flexibility with our roster. We didn’t want to just use up a roster spot on a player that we probably wouldn’t have kept.
- Roster maximum is 15...during the season
- In the offseason, it goes up to 20
- This coming year, as part of the new CBA, the league added 2 additional ‘two-way’ contracts for players who’d spend a majority of the time in the GLeague, putting the potential roster maximum at 17
- You don’t have to keep draftees on your roster if you don’t sign them, and you can easily waive them off your roster if you do.
But maybe the guy was groggy from spending a couple hours screwing the fanbase over. But Gar Forman, after a night in his sarcophagus with time to think of a better answer, went on WSCR’s Spiegel and Parkins Show Friday. The hosts asked the right questions regarding the lack of strategy, to the point it should be noted that Gar, after reading this tip in his personalized copy of “How to Win Friends and Try to Keep People from Being Visually Disgusted by You”, said, twice, that this was a good question.
But that doesn’t mean he provided a good answer. Gar, who’s supposed to be the calculating, details-man of this dynamic front office duo, indicated he indeed doesn’t know the rules:
we’ll set up our draft board, and there are guys that we like, and in last night’s situation the guys that we were high on, that we liked as 2nd round picks...the board dried up.
We thought, in that situation, having the flexibility with the roster spot, and some more financial flexibility, as far as our roster is concerned, was better than throwing a dart to a guy we don’t really like. If we like a guy, obviously we’re going to take him. [Talks about how great the Paul Zipser pick is, and a couple other 2nd rounders in their past fifteen friggin’ years]. If we don’t, we’d rather have the flexibility with out roster.
And then when pressed about how there’s no actual cap savings, and how straight-cash helps flexibility, Gar droned on:
It’s more that we’d rather have the flexibility of the roster spot, and not add a guy that we’re not high on, that takes up a roster spot moving forward. We want to have flexibility under the cap, but we also want to have flexibility with our roster, where we’ve got roster spots, in order to take advantage of opportunities that may come via trade, whether that’s 2 players for 1, or taking a player because we’re going to have flexibility financially, as we look at the big picture, maybe there’s a situation next year where we’ve got to take a contract back, that is helping another team get off that contract, and we’re getting some type of asset for that.
Read those rules again above and try to make sense of what Gar and Pax are saying. Gar in particular, as Ricky said yesterday, is a liar and a dumbass. But which one is it here?
Paxson admitted after this past season the Bulls have a small front office. But it was a real little engine that could in the 3rd biggest market in the country that they have sole territory of.
Now earlier in the hour on that Spiegel and Parkins show, KC Johnson was a guest. We know KC is a good reporter and can get stuff like breaking this huge trade because he has sources deep within the organization, including GarPax themselves. So when KC said he was surprised by the anger surrounding the trade, I’m sure GarPax were surprised too. But also, when asked about how the Bulls potentially have a limited scope in their loyalty-circle and just looking at Iowa State connections:
Look, the Bulls have a sharp assistant GM in Brian Hagen, they have Jim Paxson as a consultant, it’s not just Gar and John.
See, it’s not just them, it’s also....Gar’s former underling at Iowa State and John’s brother.
Their collective impotence in a basketball operations staff is likely indicative of how, in a supposedly deep draft, their board dried up 8 picks into the 2nd round.
I'm definitely not down for this idea because rebuilding teams like the Bulls should throw darts. They also have a G League squad. https://t.co/gBcEjitpIT— Ridiculous Upside (@RidicUpside) June 23, 2017
Now an alternative explanation is that they’re outright liars. They didn’t want roster flexibility to take on salary, they wanted cash to take on salary. Beyond the cap space putting them in position to take bad contract (ooh, maybe they can get an asset like a high second-round pick!), they also have likely potential buyouts soon with Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade.
But you can’t call them liars, Gar and Pax spent significant time after the trade being offended at the very suggestion that they’re liars! (that’s typical NBA front-office stuff)
So let’s take them at their word, and instead entertain the likelihood that they do not have a structure in place to scout enough players, or know all the rules when it comes to developing them and using roster spots.
Gang, I’m starting to not really trust these guys to accomplish a ‘rebuild’, and crediting them for choosing that path when they have no ability to see it through is ridiculous.