Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s son Michael spoke to KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune this week. It’s a rare appearance from ‘ownership’, even of the future variety, and yet another reminder why that should stay rare. Maybe the ‘dorfs feel they can poke their head up because the team is stringing together some quality play in the time of the season where half the teams are disjointed or stopped trying (or both), but there is a weird sense of confidence throughout that’s spawned from ignorance.
The Bulls President and COO, who is also the son of the owner, answered a wide range of questions. To get the ‘news’ out of the way: like before the season, Michael Reinsdorf thinks everything is going well and thus we shouldn’t expect any changes.
It may have been the only definitive part of the interview, as otherwise the Reinsdorf-surname’d executive appeared to either be confused or wrong about pretty much everything. Here are many examples of him playing ‘Unfrozen Caveman Sports Owner’:
I know that in this market, with some of our fans and some in the media, they look at it differently. That perplexes me.
another thing I don’t understand — why they’re referred to as “GarPax” when they have different job responsibilities.
Right now, we’re going through our second rebuild. That also mystifies me. I listen to some people who reach out to me asking how many rebuilds can we do.
To see the fan reaction and some of the media take on John, I personally don’t understand it.
I’ll hear people say, “I don’t trust Gar to make the right draft choice.” That is really confusing to me.
This was the edited version of the interview, I can only assume there were more “your concept of evaluating employees confuses and terrifies me!” in the full transcript that were removed for clarity (to make clear Michael has no clarity).
There doesn’t need to be much more effort from me on the spin-job the Reinsdorf inheritance-haver puts forth in this interview. When it comes to this ‘era’ of 16 goddamned years of the same executives, it’s not coincidentally a lot of the same stuff Paxson himself said after the trade deadline.
There’s at best misinterpretation of Bulls history, but possible more purposefully obfuscating everything. The brazen way in which there’s hand-waving of failures (the Ben Wallace experience was ‘the team tripped’) and reaching way back for successes (they paid $3M to draft Luol Deng in two-thousand-and-frigging-four) makes it all very easy enough to see through.
Just looking at this Reinsdorf family member parsing what constitutes a ‘rebuild’ - and as if there was zero evidence of failures in the FIVE YEARS between Rose’s knee injury and trading Jimmy Butler - and you can quickly tell this particular crony-hire is not capable enough to even put a good effort in justifying GarPax’s lifetime contracts, and might be legitimately confused about everything. In this interview, the Bulls owner’s appointed successor shows either he’s dumb himself, or thinks we all are.
Though Jerry Reinsdorf’s son has aimed to be more accessible to the media in recent years, we should be aware by now that while it’s depressing that he is as dumbly loyal as his dad (“it’s hard for me to see people that I admire and respect get criticized. They have families”), it doesn’t matter much, as only the old man is making the decisions here.
When Jerry hired his lad to this position, the distinction was clear: “Michael will oversee all business operations for the team and report to Jerry Reinsdorf, all of Basketball Operations will continue to report to Jerry Reinsdorf.” And just making a subjective analysis of this dynamic makes it hard to imagine the loyal owner having the basketball ops guys in the franchise for 25-30 years and allowing his son to send them out.
So while Jerry’s nepotism-hire shows in this interview he doesn’t have the wherewithal to fire basketball decision-makers, he doesn’t have the authority anyway. Maybe we should be encouraged with a sliver of ‘business operations‘ news buried in these answers - “obviously, season ticket numbers are down a bit” - to be the only potential catalyst for a change in basketball leadership. We’re not going to get that from the owner’s son’s assessment of job performance, as the only thing Michael Reinsdorf has shown here is that he literally doesn’t understand it.