Chicago Bulls: Karnisovas views Paxson ‘as resource, not a roadblock’

(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) /

Sizable reshuffling of the Chicago Bulls front office saw John Paxson and Gar Forman ousted from their top roles within the organization early this week.

News that so many Chicago Bulls fans were waiting for since the start of this rebuild arrived in different bits and pieces over the course of the last six days. The Bulls started with the hiring of former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as the next executive vice president of basketball operations. Karnisovas looks to fill the shoes that former vice president of basketball operations John Paxson did before, as the lead executive and most powerful voice in the front office.

The Bulls also made the move to fire former general manager Gar Forman after more than a 20 year run with the organization in various roles. Forman mostly held scouting and player personnel roles with the Bulls in his first dozen years with the organization. But his long-awaited departure has finally arrived.

While Karnisovas might not need Forman on board in a front office role with the Bulls, he seems to have a different plan for Paxson. According to a report from K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago on April 13, Paxson is likely to stay on board with the Bulls organization in more of a senior advisor role from here on out.

And this move to keep Paxson around seems like more of a doing of the Reinsdorfs than anything else. At least publicly, though, Karnisovas didn’t show much doubt as to his wanting to keep Paxson around in a different role. Here’s what that piece from NBC Sports Chicago had to say on the matter.

"During his interview process, Karnisovas conveyed to ownership that he viewed Paxson as a resource, not a roadblock, sources said — though Paxson only will be used as a sounding board. Karnisovas has full authority on all basketball decisions and already has begun building out the organizational infrastructure with the hire of at least one assistant general manager."

It also feels as if the Bulls organization doesn’t want to leave a shred of doubt that they’re trying to shed new light on the front office regime. The much needed sweeping front office changes hopefully makes it to this Bulls rebuild starts heading in the right direction.

Paxson certainly wasn’t guiding this rebuild to any place good in the last three years. Before the current roster structure had to be completely torn down and multiple promising talents like shooting guard Zach LaVine, point guard Coby White, power forward Lauri Markkanen, and center Wendell Carter Jr., were put to waste.

But with Karnisovas heading up a new front office regime, the Bulls should be in good hands heading into the fourth year of the rebuild. This could even be considered a reset for the rebuild since GarPax was ousted.

However, it will be interesting to see how prospective free agents, trade targets, and draft prospects view the Bulls keeping Paxson around. Whether that has a tangible impact on the Bulls image league-wide has yet to be seen. Getting rid of Forman and repositioning Paxson’s role should go a long way to reshaping the Bulls image anyway.

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The Bulls went into the novel coronavirus pandemic-induced NBA season hiatus with a record of 22-43. Their last game prior to the hiatus came on March 10, in a win at home over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whatever happens from here on out this season, the Bulls likely won’t play a role in the outcome.