Gar Forman gotta go

Sep 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman during media day at the Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman during media day at the Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

On Friday morning, Gar Forman, General Manager for the Chicago Bulls, addressed the media regarding the firestorm that was raining down on the organization via its star players after a demoralizing loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

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One thing that was completely unsurprising – Forman declined to answer questions.

In just the second presser of the season for the front office, a brief, nondescript and totally evasive Forman continued to offer nothing of value. It appears that as the Bulls world continues to burn, it’s just another day in the life of an incompetent head of ops for a squad that continues to do anything but impress or show signs of improvement.

The crown jewels of the Forman empire are meaningless regular season victories and the luck of drafting Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose. Butler was the 30th pick, literally every other first round pick was already spent so it isn’t like they stole him from another club or saw something that everyone was waiting to jump on. Even the amazing Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t fall past the middle of the first round. So yes, I’m robbing Forman and John Paxson, of any and all credit they might receive for drafting Jimmy.

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Regarding Rose, that was also an extremely lucky bounce of the ping pong balls. Anyone who would have lucked into the first pick would have drafted the Chicago native. That’s all we have to go on for them.

If you need more draft and prospect history on the bumbling Forman, Tyler Pleiss has you covered over at BlogABull.

The roots of this failure spread far and wide. They brought in the wrong players with the wrong coach and never once has anyone involved with the Reinsdorfs shown any inclination that the Bulls are anything more than a cash farm.

There is a certain amount of toxicity to this team that has existed as far back as the days of Michael Jordan. Ownership and the front office believed they were building championships, not the players. Now, Chicago again believes the front office and ownership are the answer. They allowed the relationship with Tom Thibodeau to become toxic. The chased away both the coach and multiple free agents. They allowed their star player to skip out on recruiting during pivotal moments in the franchise. They overruled their coach in the draft, selecting a player who immediately went out of the league instead of taking a player who is an anchor on one of the best teams in the NBA.

It cannot be overstated: Gar Forman said the Bulls would be younger and more athletic. He lied. The young players that Forman put on this roster are either wildly inconsistent or showing no signs of becoming starter level talent. He signed Wade about six years too late. Forman, and Paxson, operated in 2016 free agency like it was 2010. Rajon Rondo has turned into a gem, but not for his on-court ability, rather he has shed light on the darkest corners of the Chicago organization.

Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation captured it well in that tweet. He also, similarly, called for the Bulls to Fire Gar Forman, yesterday.

Leadership flaws come in many forms. If you’ve ever been in leadership or management, you’ve definitely had your own. One dangerous flaw for an organization is to have people at the very top of your organization excusing the obvious and particularly detrimental flaws of the people they appoint to leadership roles under them. You can see this in any business, but it is all the more evident with Chicago.

Michael Reinsdorf is currently handling the Bulls. Between him and his farther, Jerry, they have decided to continue allowing Forman and Paxson free reign within the team. There are a couple of possibilities within this scenario that you often see in organizational leadership, but they all boil down to pride. If you’re in a highly scrutinized or public position, your personnel decisions are magnified and the pressure is on your decisions to pay off.

Doesn’t that sound exactly like GarPax? It’s like a trickle down. But instead of the famously flawed economic idea of trickling down, this is a trickle down of pride, arrogance and failure.

The Reinsdorfs have pride in their decisions and don’t want to acknowledge that they’ve got failing front office underneath them. That acknowledgement would be a judgment on their ability to hire the right people. But the fruit bears out and there are no more excuses. Forman and Paxson haven’t landed a single, useful free agent that could impact the trajectory of the franchise. Pau Gasol was just another Carlos Boozer – overpaid, good for his numbers but not wins. Wade is well beyond his truly impactful prime. Rondo hasn’t been a valuable commodity for years, but they not only gave him a one-year deal, but they also put some guaranteed money for year two on that deal.

And those are just the recent signings, added to the drafting failures. They also haven’t shown any ability to capitalize on trades. Derrick Rose out, Robin Lopez in was a good enough move. Lopez still has trade value and is an upgrade at center over last year’s team. They also acquired Spencer Dinwiddie and did nothing with him, repeatedly messing with his status until he found his way to the Brooklyn Nets. Dinwiddie might be a limited player, but he might have been useful with Michael Carter-Williams and Rajon Rondo both going through benchings, Denzel Valentine racking up DNPs, and Jerian Grant having exactly one good game the entire year.

Beyond trades they have made, there are plenty they haven’t. That’s a problem, too. Why did they let Gasol walk for nothing? Why did they let Joakim Noah walk for nothing? Why does it look like they’ve made no progress on finding a return for Taj Gibson who will be a free agent this summer? Why is there a fear hanging out a large portion of the Bulls writer and blogger world that this is the exact kind of team that would want to trade for Carmelo Anthony’s bloated carcass of a contract which wouldn’t help them push in the playoffs and would absolutely lock up their cap space for the next two years.

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Mistakes like this aren’t new to sports. Lots of franchises across all sports have done this for decades. Where the concern and call to action becomes urgent is the lack of transparency.

What Chicago does behind closed doors isn’t known, but when they seldom face the media, they do not allow anyone to question them and they provide no answers to real questions. A press conference on the most embarrassing moment this franchise has experienced publicly as far as my memory can stretch, but Forman refused to take questions.

K.C. Johnson, Nick Friedell, Sean Highkin, Cody Westerlund – they don’t write Forman’s paychecks. However, the constant refusal to address the concern of consumers, who do pay money to the Bulls organization for tickets and merchandise, via the media is starting to roost. Chicago is having trouble selling tickets. The media circus has exposed the dysfunction of this team. When the Bulls lost to the Miami Heat on Friday night, the home team was booed off the court. They were loudly booed off the court. Again, I can’t remember the last time that chorus of boos rained down on the home team in the United Center.

These are signals of the frustration of the consumer. Chicago’s consumer confidence is shockingly low. And a lot of it is probably residual from the unfulfilled expectations of the Rose-Thibs era. This latest failure just peeled back the scabs that hadn’t fully healed for fans.

And that’s why a stoic, bland, empty-worded presser from Forman on the latest failure of the team he build should be a herald of the end for the president of basketball operations.