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Bulls owner’s son tries and fails to make franchise not sound cheap

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not really growing the organization, but generating memes

NBA: Lottery Draft
oh hai there
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

There were around 3 main takeaways to Jerry Reinsdorf’s son Michael’s media rounds this week. One was exposing himself as a basketball dumbass who has been duped by John Paxson and is attempting to pay that forward in conning the fanbase. Another - something we can get into deeper in the future - is this faith in Jim ‘Boy’ Boylen and how downright troubling that is.

And a third would be something that he, as a nepotism appointee of a finance/business role, would logically best at speaking to: the cheapass mom-and-pop shop his dad has been running.

Both KC Johnson earlier in the week and now Stephen Noh of The Athletic pressed Reinsdorf on the great ‘cash considerations’ grabs of the past two seasons and tried to get the future CEO of Reinds-corp to try and justify their penny-pinching while being the sole basketball team in the 3rd largest market in the country.

Of course, he couldn’t justify it because it’s unjustifiable. But it’s still funny to read him try. These are, no kidding, the talking points from the future owner of the Bulls on how they spend money on the basketball team:

That last one is real, and the Bulls version of take-your-kid-to-the-C-suite-day didn’t even do this recently:

I did believe that one day, this was like four or five years ago, I walked into Steve Weinman’s office. He was working on one computer. I said, “Steve, you’re our analytics person. Why don’t you have like four screens here?” And he was new and I said, “OK Steve, let’s get you set up.”

Getting management strategy from The Onion, apparently. At least it was a more recent example than paying for a first round pick 15 years ago.

Reinsdorf’s son did try and maintain that the team in the future would, like totally, for sure, would buy a second round pick or go into the luxury tax if it was necessary for success.

But in the meantime, as a rebuilding (if they will allow for this term) team, they haven’t used their financial might to better themselves. Maybe management isn’t asking for money because they don’t put in the effort to determine that’s needed?

John Paxson admitted that he, leading basketball decision-maker for the 3rd most valuable franchise in the league, has ‘a small staff’, and Stephen Noh pressed the Bulls non-decision-maker on this to where he disagreed with Paxson.

I firmly believe that we are staffed really well. That the Bulls, it’s not about cutting costs. John, Gar, his staff, they’re able to cover the college games for us scouting.

At the end of the day, if you gave me $100 million and said go hire as many scouts and other basketball people as you want but not players, I personally don’t think it would make a difference. We have it covered, and when we need to add more people we are always going to add more people. I don’t think we’re a small staff at all, at least from a basketball standpoint.

This was followed with a bit of smarm from the son of a sports owner, justifying the basketball operations department size by quipping “I think our draft record speaks for itself.” And maybe he’s on to something as a businessperson: if what GarPax have done in the draft is unimpeachable, where you get 16 drafts and can tell your boss’s son about only the hits and fairly exclusively stick to your draft slot and take a consensus selection with a lot of luck involved...why pay more?

And speaking of GarPax, the term that the owner’s scion is legitimately confused by, there wasn’t a good job of delineating responsibilities. Technically, Paxson has the higher position and Gar does more of the dirty work like, oh, scouting, contracts, trades, etc., but Paxson also does that stuff, and they get a consensus with both parties when making decisions, and sometimes one or both speaks to the media, and Gar also reports to ownership. Why is this so confusing???

GarPax, forever inseparable, have successfully pulled off an amazing self-preservation act in this rebuild. They get years without evaluation, and it’s very low-cost. Not just the cash considerations acquisitions, but the extremely low payroll, and opportunity benefit of not taking on more ‘bad’ money. They never spent cash considerations (you can give out as much as you take in, it’s true!) never used their $4.4m room exception this year, and have had an open roster spot since the trade deadline. They’re rebuilding (right?) and there are opportunities to spend to better facilitate that PATH. But the guy writing the checks from his dad’s account doesn’t feel it’s necessary, hasn’t been convinced otherwise by management, and we have to consider that the low expenditures isn’t just a circumstance, it’s actually the goal.