I know it feels almost insignificant and unnecessary to mention anything about the Chicago Bulls basketball operations given what’s going on in the world. But there is still news to report and we may as well discuss it. After all, the NBA season may be on hold – with no telling when/how the league will return – but many of the current storylines around the league will pick up right where they left off. So let’s get to it.
For a bulk of the season, front office rumors have hovered over the United Center, as Michael Reinsdorf was said to be actively on the prowl for a new, empowered voice to lead this organization.
And for the Bulls, there’s a good chance this thread continues whether the team’s playing games or not. Now, we’ll certainly receive fewer updates than before – heck, the search, itself, will probably slow down considerably – but I have little doubt this ownership will continue to do a lot of thinking over the next month or so.
And indeed, the Bulls have made a few moves behind-the-scenes recently, according to the Sun-Times:
But some changes already have quietly taken place this season: Scottie Pippen is no longer in his role as team ambassador, and general manager Gar Forman has been slowly marginalized to the point where only chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is keeping him around.
No more Scottie!?
Truthfully, the news doesn’t feel that shocking, especially when you consider Pippen’s comments around the All-Star Break. The Bulls-legend literally said on national television that he didn’t know half the players on the team and that the Bulls starting lineup wasn’t made up of starting-caliber players. I don’t know about you, but those are pretty harsh remarks from someone who is supposedly an “ambassador” for the team.
Although, the more overarching worry here is in regards to where the relationship between Pippen and the Bulls currently stands. I’m not necessarily insinuating that it’s in a bad place, but I think it’s a fair question if he’s no longer a team ambassador. I’m curious how the separation took place, and I’m hoping there is no bad blood between the two sides. Fingers crossed the Bulls didn’t ruin what could have been – even most cynically – a valuable relationship.
Update: After seeing some initial comments and thoughts, I just want to clarify that the report didn’t state he was “fired.” All we know is that he is no longer in an ambassador role. I suppose it’s possible he’s still involved with the organization somehow, but that all remains unclear.
As for the other note mentioned, it appears Gar Forman’s power is at an all-time low. We already knew his role was diminishing over the past months, with an early-season report even mentioning a possible firing in the future. And while we haven’t quite gotten to that point, it appears Forman is hanging on by a thread. Fortunately for Forman, the threads he’s clutching too is the strongest in the organization, with Jerry Reinsdorf reportedly being the only person who still wants to keep the weakened general manager around.
Most rumors have involved Forman possibly moving to the scouting department, and with this news of Jerry’s invested interest, that makes a lot more sense. Michael and others might very well want to let Forman go, but ultimately, his father has the final say.
I’ll be curious to see what comes of this once we get back to our previous life. Overall, nothing about this report is anything to get to up in arms about, especially considering the circumstances, but it’s interesting to know some movement was already taking place behind the scenes.