The Chicago Bulls front office isn’t living up to the standard it set for itself, and when that happens, it usually means jobs are on the line.
Of course, the Bulls have dodged that “usual” result for years, but according to David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 and NBC Sports Chicago, a massive change could finally be on the horizon.
“From what I hear – and I still have good friends that work in the league, they [the Bulls] are readying a plan to overhaul everything in basketball operations,” Kaplan said on his ESPN 1000 show Kap & Co.
That’s the biggest claim we’ve heard thus far about the state of the Bulls organization and any potential changes. Earlier this season, rumors began to float around about General Manager Gar Forman’s job security, but as far as actual front office movement goes, that was the only rumored change. And since that report, the story hasn’t gained much momentum.
With that said, the losses have continued to pile up since then, and if one thing’s for sure, it’s that losing can change minds. Who knows, maybe perspective has finally hit this ownership like a freight train. But let’s pump the brakes a little, before we go too far.
Kaplan did concede that he doesn’t know any specifics within the Reinsdorfs’ plans. However, he did make sure to note that the change would start at the very top, with possible new advising on how to reconstruct nearly everything from the scouting department to the coaching staff.
“I don’t know who’s advising Michael Reinsdorf and Jerry, I don’t know who is going to be involved in their plan,” Kaplan continued. “I’m just telling you, people I still know and have a relationship within the league, saying, ‘yeah, there’s finally going to be massive change coming to Chicago.’ Massive. That’s how the guy characterized it to me. And that there’s going to be a clean[ing] out of the scouting department and how you construct a scouting staff and how you construct your front office and your operations and who’s going to be the head coach.”
What Kaplan is saying here is exactly what Bulls fans have been dreaming about for years, which is what makes it so hard to believe. After all, who the heck is going to lead the charge on all this change? It can’t be John Paxson, that’s for sure.
Well, Kaplan did have an answer at the ready – “their new GM.”
Indeed, that brings us back to the original report from this season on Forman’s position. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson spoke briefly about front-office change in his recent mailbag, and he did elaborate a bit on what the Bulls might do with Forman.
“I do think [John] Paxson and Forman will return, though Forman’s title could change,” Johnson wrote. “He’s heavily into scouting now and doing so almost exclusively.”
Where Johnson and Kaplan seem to differ is in the extent of the Bulls “overhaul.” Johnson believes the Bulls will welcome back Forman and Paxson next season, but the two share common ground in believing a GM position could very well open up.
The question then becomes, will the Bulls hand that GM the keys? If Kaplan’s speaking the truth, they very well might. But if Paxson is still around like Johnson and the Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley have suggested in the past, it’s hard to believe this new GM can have complete control (in which case, you wonder how much of an “overhaul” this would have really been).
(Michael: I agree with everything Eli just said, though I’d note that Kaplan’s insistence on the Reinsdorfs leading this charge with the help of advisors does seem to indicate something closer to a true, top-to-bottom overhaul, so to speak).
When the fog settles, who the Bulls get to advise them through this process will make or break the success. An in-house executive can’t fix these problems, Forman and Paxson had their chance. Kaplan says he’s “99.9 percent” certain that whoever the Bulls decide to hire next for a position like GM, head coach, and director of scouting is currently working for another team. Good.
A lot can change between now and April, but for the sake of saving Bulls basketball, let’s hope Kaplan is being fed the right information.