Bulls begin search for top front office executive

Zach Lavine Playing for Bulls

While the past month hasn’t really been a reason for celebration, there’s some reason to rejoice, Bulls fans!

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Bulls organization has started their search for a new top executive. The front office addition will have full authority on personnel moves, replacing vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman (with both of those executives being demoted to other roles).

This echoes report from earlier this year. We heard at the time that the organization was considering some significant front office changes.

The interviews are scheduled to take place electronically next week, and several candidates have already started to emerge:

  • Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas
  • Raptors general manager Bobby Webster
  • Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan
  • Jazz general manager Justin Zanik
  • Clippers general manager Michael Winger
  • Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon

While those six individuals have been mentioned as favorites of Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf, it’s uncertain if they’ll actually interview for the position. We’ve also learned that the Bulls likely won’t pursue Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri or Thunder president of basketball operations Sam Presti.

Meanwhile, Paxson is expected to stick around in an important advisory role, while Forman will likely be demoted to a scouting position.

“GarPax” (as they’re affectionately (just kidding) known to Bulls fans) have effectively been teamed up since the early 2000s, with the duo taking on larger, more significant roles over the years. The team had their ups and downs throughout their first decade at the helm, culminating in a championship contender alongside head coach Tom Thibodeau and stars like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng.

Since that core dissolved, the front office has seemed to lack focus. It started with a somewhat head-scratching (and, ultimately, pricey) signing of Dwyane Wade. It progressed to them trading star Jimmy Butler for a curious haul (and, mind you, a haul that looks worse every year).

The organization has also struggled to identify young players in the draft (Thibodeau reportedly urged the front office to draft Draymond Green) or even on their own roster (the Bulls ditched Spencer Dinwiddie a year before he joined the Nets).

Now, they’re stuck in mediocrity, as they need to extend a pair of young players who have only shown brief flashes of stardom (Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen) while also rostering underwhelming veterans for the foreseeable future (Thad Young and Tomas Satoransky). With Zach LaVine and Otto Porter as their best players, the Bulls struggled to a 22-43 record.

This has culminated in Bulls fans coining the “Fire GarPax” chant throughout much of the last season (they even managed to get a billboard up). While the team has made significant changes elsewhere (especially on the coaching staff), they haven’t seen a major front office change in years… until now.

While the inevitable front office shakeup will only be the first step of a long process, it will still be an appreciated change for Bulls fans.

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