According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, the Bulls are willing to shake things up in the front office this offseason, but with one key player still at the helm.
Speculation exists that the Bulls will make offseason changes. According to sources, nothing has been definitively decided but everything is on the table — except one thing. Paxson is still held in high regard by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and will be counted on to figure prominently in basketball operations.
The most likely scenario is the Bulls adding to the front office. This person would be from outside the organization, with fresh eyes and insights.
Good: The Bulls are willing to hire outside executives and update on the front office.
Bad: John Paxson will still likely play a large part moving forward.
Last week, David Kaplan shared on his ESPN 1000 talk show Kap & Compay that he’s heard the Bulls are planning for massive changes in the front office come season’s end. While he didn’t mention any names, he sounded confident in the fact that Chicago would be working toward a complete overhaul in basketball operations.
Even then, we doubted Kaplan’s claim (specifically with regards to the man on top), comparing it to earlier reports from NBC Sports Chicago and the Sun-Times that reaffirmed Paxson’s job security. Johnson has specifically mentioned in the past more of what sounds like reshuffling rather than an overhaul, and this updated report continues to lean that way.
The Bulls might very well move toward fixing their issues with addition rather than subtraction. I still believe Gar Forman’s job could be on the line, but with his well-documented and increased role in the scouting department, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him handed a new title.
The biggest takeaway here though is yet another bout of confidence in Paxson. Practically every time we’ve seen this front office news heat up, it’s followed by a reminder that Paxson still holds the deep respect of the Reinsdorfs. As I wrote in the Kaplan post, it’s hard to believe any real change can surface if Paxson remains in charge. Even if the Bulls were to hire a new, external General Manager, we can’t be sure his word will be held to a higher standard than Paxson. Honestly, the same could be said in the scouting department if Forman is put in charge.
I believe the organization wants to hire shiny, new toys, but if a kid plays with them all the same, what’s the difference? Hand Paxson a new yo-yo, and he’ll do the same tricks.
Not to mention, the organization already tried to do some “reshuffling” in recent years, and it’s leading to the same outcome we’ve seen over and over. Sure, this time around could result in more jobs lost and more new faces, but Kaplan’s comment about a complete overhaul is what’s needed to institute real change.
As Johnson pointed out, “nothing has been definitively decided but everything is on the table,” so we can still hold out hope this ownership group comes to their senses. Kaplan hinted at possible advisors coming in to help lead the change, which could certainly convince the Reinsdorfs to lean one way or another when it comes to opting for a clean sweep.
Regardless, I’d say it’s important to note that seats are hot. The topic doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, and I’d expect more information to come through the grapevine during the second half of this season. Believe it or not, Chicago hasn’t hit rock bottom on the 2019-20 campaign just yet, but they’re pretty darn close. A second-half of more empty seats on losing nights at the United Center could have a strong influence on the end result.