Another day … another post full of juicy Bulls front office news and rumors.
- First things first, here’s what we learned earlier: The Bulls are moving fast, and John Paxson is willing to leave. Like, for real. Yup, you read that right. The Bulls are trying to right the ship ASAP, and that means by this time next week, the Bulls could very well have a new leader of their front office. In addition, according to the Sun-Times, Paxson is willing to completely leave the organization if the Reinsdorfs or the new executive VP of basketball operations believe that’s best for the team. In other words, he’ll fire himself if he must.
- I know this Paxson report might be music to some Bulls fans ears, but please don’t assume this means he’s on his way out. While it’s nice to hear he’s willing to leave the organization, we have no reason to truly believe that’s going to happen … yet. Personally, him ending up in an advisory role still feels like the most likely conclusion, especially when reading K.C. Johnson’s latest for NBC Sports Chicago.
Latest on Bulls front office situation: https://t.co/6p97DjDdaR
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 7, 2020
- Johnson doesn’t reference the Sun-Times report, and instead reiterates the same news he’s been sharing all along: Paxson will take as large or small of a role as the new front office hire wants, meaning he can still be part of this organization in one form or another. In fact, the decision to move forward with a front office overhaul was backed by him from the start, and he’s apparently more than comfortable with no longer having a say in the day-to-day operations. Believe in that all you want. I still think it can work just fine, but I also like knowing that the new executive will have a choice.
- The other main point of Johnson’s latest is that the Bulls – for the first time … basically ever – are searching outside of their network for the next front office face (well, almost – more on that in a second). Since Jerry Krause, the Bulls have really only re-decorated their upstairs with in-house paint. Now, it appears they’re ready for a fresh start. Thank goodness.
- Johnson also spoke a lot about the Utah Jazz organization and GM Justin Zanik, who holds the title of “first interview” for this whole process after speaking to the team yesterday. According to Johnson, Zanik is already considered a finalist for the position, and the Bulls seem to admire the foundation of Utah’s front office. And interestingly enough, the Jazz had a power shift recently that could end up looking very similar to the Bulls. Overall, if I were you, my main takeaway from this would simply be that Zanik is a legitimate contender for the open gig.
- I’ve seen some understandable concern out there (and in my own head) about the Bulls potentially keeping former employee and current Assistant General Manager Matt Lloyd on their list. He’s the only familiar face we’ve heard of thus far, and thankfully, it appears he isn’t truly in the running for the executive VP of basketball operations gig. Johnson wrote: “… if he is hired, it will likely be by the new basketball operations head as that person builds out his infrastructure.” So if Lloyd (or I guess another former employee of some kind) was going to make a return to the organization, it seems like it would only be by the choice of the new hire. And, honestly, if this new hire thinks that guys is best for the job … so be it. At least it would be someone fresh making the decision based on credentials instead of the Bulls making it out of familiarity/comfort.
- The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry offers some solid thoughts on what it means for the Bulls that the first few names on their list have already been scratched off:
Michael Reinsdorf is on the right track in his search for a new chief executive. But the Bulls president and COO must ask himself what recent rejection says about his organization. https://t.co/Y6TPhjFo7J
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) April 7, 2020