Which happens first: Gar Forman goes or Jai Paul album drops

Jun 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman speaks during a press conference at Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman speaks during a press conference at Advocate Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Jai Paul is a mysterious figure. He dropped some fire tracks a few years ago, then had even more fire tracks leaked on a Bandcamp page. Since then it has been radio silence for the talented young Londoner. Gar Forman isn’t quite so mysterious. He rode the crest of the Derrick Rose-Tom Thibodeau era Chicago Bulls before diving into a trough that has lasted for as many years as we’ve been waiting for a proper album from Paul.

Look, this isn’t complex. We’re talking about two unlike things. One is frustrating, but carries such hope and promise. The other is infuriating and offers no hope for better things to come.

Paul is a promising musician, very talented in the limited amount of material we have to go on. To date, he’s released exactly two singles, “BTSU” and “Jasmine.” They are both fantastic.

More from Pippen Ain't Easy

Forman showed up in his current capacity in 2009. The team had already drafted Derrick Rose before his time as general manager. He was around for 2011, when Jimmy Butler fell all the way to Chicago with the No. 30 pick. He was also around for the hiring, and subsequent firing of Thibodeau.

In April of 2013, the worst best thing happened. A full Jai Paul album, untitled with mostly unnamed tracks, surfaced on Bandcamp. It was quickly discovered that the album was a stolen set of demos. You’d hardly know. To this day, the stolen demos are better than anything released under the “pop” moniker.

Just listen to this clip of “Track 2.”

The future of the world was better and more exciting with Jai Paul in it.

Forman ascended at the same time as the Bulls. A team that had been anything but good since the end of the Michael Jordan era, now the biggest threat to LeBron James and his new superteam, the Miami Heat. Watch this and try to not get pumped and even a bit nostalgic:

In the four years since Jai’s demo tracks leaked, it has been silence from Paul. There have been no more tracks, no new interviews, no rumors that amount to anything. It’s just been those same demo tracks, filled with promise and a unique, refresher, nearly perfect take on modern pop music. There could be so much more, but it just isn’t there.

The 2011 version of this Chicago team is completely gone. Rose just finished a season in New York where he temporarily went AWOL and battled off-court issues that tarnished his reputation. Joakim Noah joined him in New York this past summer, but he’s with the team for the foreseeable future. Thibs and the Bulls went through a messy divorce and he is now the shot caller for the Minnesota Timberwolves. This season, Taj Gibson was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade for Cameron Payne.

Injuries robbed Chicago of what might have been, just like some thief robbed us of what might have been the Jai Paul ascendency to the pop throne. The Bulls were poised to push Miami’s Big Three and maybe overtake them, if not for injuries and a failure of players, coaches and the front office to coexist.

Despite all the poor drafts, the failures, botched trades, a sinking record and a poorly constructed roster, there is no sign that Forman is in any danger of losing his job. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf has a history of moving internally for positions. He also favors loyalty and returns it. His son, Michael Reinsdorf, who is effectively taking charge of Chicago these days, has a personal relationship with Forman that extends beyond the boundaries of basketball. We’ve counted the many irregularities of Forman and his shortcomings as a general manager, yet he appears impervious to the failure of the franchise he’s been tasked to keep on task.

It’s altogether unclear what Jai is up to. Since he hasn’t been forthcoming with any information regarding his musical career or the future of his projects, it feels as if we’re being punished. In more than four years, we’ve been left to wonder what might have been for Paul and for our listening pleasure.

What exactly is Forman up to? He fails to spell out any direction for the team he’s constructed. We are absolutely being punished. It has been essentially four years since any false hope that this front office, the roster they have, and the coaching staff have combined to inspire any true hope or belief that good things lie ahead. At best, we’ve been left to wonder what might have been if Rose stayed healthy and the hubris of Thibs and John Paxson, and Gar, could have been put aside.

There’s no reason to believe that we’re going to get a new Jai Paul album soon, if ever. There’s no reason to believe that the Bulls are going to make serious, positive changes to the way things are run for 2017-18, or beyond next year.

I want a new Jai Paul album. I want to play it loud. I want to be filled with joy, hope, audible pleasure. I don’t want to stare down another half-decade regressive, antiquated management that wastes the best years of Butler. I pose the question of what happens first, we get an album from Paul or Forman moves on from his current position. Sadly, if I think about it long enough, it feels like the real answer is that we’re going to get neither and that’s so much worse than just getting one or the other.