Moment #5: Gar Forman Wins Co-Executive of the Year
The Bulls haven’t had the leadership or the direction they once had. After the 1997-98 season, the Bulls fell off the map in every way possible. They sank to the bottom of the division and were picking in the lottery every year it seemed.
But in the recent years, the Bulls have began to start finding that much needed direction once again and it starts at the top, with the GM.
Gar Forman stepped into the roll of Bulls General Manager in October of 2009. Chicago fell back into the .500 rut they found themselves in the previous season as well, but Forman had already had enough. One average season was enough for Forman to completely revamp the Bulls roster adding guys other teams considered scraps and forming what is now now in the Chicago-Pop lexicon as the Bench Mob.
Forman started crafting a championship caliber team by signing former Utah Jazz Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver as well as Omer Asik (who was actually a Bulls draft pick who went back to Turkey), and former Milwaukee Buck and long time NBA role player Kurt Thomas to aid a young core of talent centered around Chicago’s own, Derrick Rose.
Forman also had a bit of a pickle in terms of free agency as well. The elephant free agent in the room was Lebron James and everyone and their grandma was predicting he land in the Windy City. There was also Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and a cast of many others that could potentially step in and instantly boost the credibility of this team.
But the trick was finding a guy to become Rose’s sidekick, not a guy who would make Rose his sidekick.
Forman went with another former Jazz, Carlos Boozer. Boozer signed with the Bulls and everything seemed set. Rose was still the star, the Bulls had All-Star talent all over their starting five (with one notable exception) and the bench was deep and gave way to an endless possibility of rotations.
The only thing missing was a head coach. Vinny Del Negro had been fired after the previous season and the vacancy wasn’t drawing a whole lot of attention. Instead of going out and bidding high on a free agent head coach or breaking the bank on calling up a college one, Forman went to the East Coast to snag an Assistant Head Coach named Tom Thibodeau, a man Doc Rivers had dubbed a defensive genius.
Thibodeau, with no prior NBA head coaching experience, stepped in and institued a gameplan and an attitude that instantly caught in with the players. This is all credited to Gar Forman who took a lot of chances on a lot of guys that were getting over looked and his gamble paid off big time.
For Forman’s hard work, he produced a 62 win season, a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, a Coach of the Year, the League MVP and he managed to revitalize Chicago basketball and return it to the upper echelon of Chicago culture. No longer are people shy about showing off their Bulls pride the way the represent the Bears or the White Sox and to a lesser extent the Blackhawks.
Forman was rewarded with earning Co-Executive of the Year, an award he shared with the Miami Heat‘s Pat Riley (because after all he did finagle a way to get the top 3 free agents on his team). Had a vote not gone to John Paxson, the Bulls VP of Basketball Operations, Forman would have won the award flat out. But it’s better that he didn’t because it lends to the unfinished business aspect the Bulls have on the next basketball season. But for now, the Bulls can take pride in coming as far as they have and can thank Gar Forman for putting the pieces together to get them where they are today.
Later: Get out those Home jerseys, Moment #4 has a home court advantage feel to it