Michael Reinsdorf Speaks: Paxson Steps Aside, No Financial Restraints for New Front Office, Hashtags Didn't Help, More

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Michael Reinsdorf Speaks: Paxson Steps Aside, No Financial Restraints for New Front Office, Hashtags Didn’t Help, More

Chicago Bulls

Over the last several days, the Chicago Bulls have turned the page. In fact, they’ve turned several.

Gar Forman has been fired. John Paxson has been re-assigned (/silenced). Arturas Karnisovas has been elected supreme leader. And an old, small front office is beginning to house more new faces than ever. Soon enough, the Bulls will open up a new book, and hopefully, we’ll all enjoy the read quite a bit more.

But before that officially happens, Michael Reinsdorf hopped on 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh Show to deliver an epilogue of sorts. The Bulls president talked about what finally pushed the Bulls over the edge and how we got where we are today.

Let’s recap!

  • Using the hiatus to start their front office overhaul wasn’t preferred. The league is currently suspended due to troubling circumstances, and there are far bigger things to worry about than who will be the next general manager. With that in mind, Reinsdorf began to talk about why the team decided to make a sour situation a little sweeter: “If we made a move now, to make the change, that would give the new head of basketball operations an opportunity to really get to know his staff.”
  • With a return date nowhere in sight, the decision to act now makes perfect sense. Even upon the league’s resumption, there are bound to be stressful questions remaining. Dealing with these potential concerns and a front office rebuild at the same time could’ve been quite the burden. The Bulls instead opted for a head start, one that should give them a much better foundation come the league’s re-start.
  • I’m sure many out there want to take credit for the #FireGarPax demise (Hey man, my tweet totally got Gar Forman canned), but Reinsdorf isn’t ready to give Bulls fans all the credit. While he admitted some of the angst played a role, he gave John Paxson the nod for jump-starting the process: “I certainly don’t want to say that what the fans were saying or what our season ticket holders, the people I was reaching out to, were saying didn’t play any effect on me, but it’s not the reason you make changes like this because nobody really knows what’s going on inside the organization … I was really listening to John and looking at the organization and thinking about our process and what was going to happen going forward. And to me, it just seemed like now was definitely the right time to make these changes.”
  • I think plenty of us know this by now, but this basically confirms that Paxson was a major advocate for a new-look front office. Reinsdorf did say these moves would happen regardless, but Paxson’s voice certainly played a key role in the Bulls finally changing course: “I wasn’t thrilled with where we were as a team, as an organization. I shared that information with John, and we continued to try to effect change and improve the organization. But at some point, John did have that heart-to-heart with me, and he just said ‘Mike, I’m not the right person to lead this organization for the next 10 to 15 years, and I think it’s really important you have the right person working with you.’ That really was kind of like the kick start to it. Here we go, we have a decision, now let’s figure out how we’re going to move forward.”
  • In hindsight, this was probably the only way a new era was going to start. Paxson had to throw in the towel. He came to his boss and basically flat-out said, “I’m not the man for the job.” I guess that’s admirable, but it’s also pretty darn frustrating that the guy who was responsible for keeping everything the same for so long was also the one to eventually force the biggest change. Whatever. We got what we wanted.
  • Something I found quite interesting is the way Reinsdorf talks about Paxson. I could be reading too much into this, but the “past tense” in the following quote spoke volumes to me: “John’s decision and whether people liked him or didn’t like the job he did for the Bulls over the years, John’s decision was about the Chicago Bulls and the fan base. It was about doing what’s right for the organization.” Is it just me or does this sound like Paxson is truly out of the picture? He might still be in the organization as a senior advisor, but Reinsdorf is no longer referring to him as someone who has a say in the operations. And Reinsdorf continued to drive this point home as he spoke about the new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.
  • When asked about whether Forman and Paxson’s job security was a point of discussion in the interview room, here’s what he had to say:  “It was actually short conversations because you can’t hire a head of basketball operations and then have all these restrictions on him … we actually asked him ‘what do you want to do.'” Karnisovas got to decide their fate, and this is what that looks like.
  • To go along with that, Reinsdorf basically said there was no conversation about how much Karnisovas can spend on this overhaul: “We told Arturas we wanted him to build this organization out from a standpoint that he’s comfortable with. We never really talked about monetary restrictions.” The goal is for Karnisovas to fill the front office with “smart” and “driven” people, something he was constantly praised for around the league when Reinsdorf was gathering information. If those are the folks the Bulls want (and those should be the ones an organization like this has), they have to be willing to open the checkbook.
  • At the end of the day, our trip to the land of optimism was full of road rage, but at least we finally got here. I’m ready to look toward the future, and I’m happy to hear the Reinsdorfs are as well.


Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.