Tag: Gar Forman

Chicago Bulls' Deng goes to the basket against the Miami Heat during second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago

Deng practicing with Bulls, says “the wrist is the wrist”

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At the end of last season, a lot of newspaper ink and Internet bandwidth in and around Chicago was spent focusing on Luol Deng’s wrist. He could have gotten surgery on it but instead he played through it then played for Great Britain in the London Olympics.

Now he is back in Bulls training camp, and no surgery.

So one of the first questions he was asked on media day was about the wrist. But Deng isn’t really worried about it, he told Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com. He’s just going to play through it, and the Bulls are good with that.

“The wrist is the wrist. It is what it is. I’m expecting to be asked about it all year, but I’ve just got to go out and play, play as hard as I can, do what I can do. Whether it’s one arm or two arms or no arms, I’m going to be the best that I can be. That’s the goal, just go out there and play as hard as I can. It felt great in the Olympics. Since I’ve been back practicing, it’s been feeling great and so far, so good.

“If it was the same as last year, I would have went ahead and did the surgery. It just kept improving. During the Olympics, it was a lot better than it was at the end of the year. The strength of it has definitely increased and I’m able to do a lot more things than I was able to do. It’s been getting better, so I’ve just got to continue with what I’ve been doing and keep doing it.”

That wrist is going to have to help carry a lot more weight for Bulls this season with Derrick Rose out for an extended time recovering from his torn ACL. But both coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Gar Forman said Deng had looked good so far at camp.

If the wrist flairs up and the Bulls struggle — both genuine possibilities — then maybe he changes his mind. But for now, the Bulls have Deng on the court and looking pretty good.

Indiana’s Larry Bird named NBA Executive of the Year

Larry Bird attends a party after the premier of the Broadway play Magic Bird in New York

He’s an NBA MVP. He’s an NBA champion. He’s an NBA Coach of the Year.

And now he’s an NBA Executive of the Year. Not a bad resume.

Larry Bird was voted the honor by his peers, the league announced. Bird is the first person ever to be an MVP, COY and now Executive of the Year. There’s a whole bunch of other accolades we could put on his historic and unique career in basketball as well.

You have to wonder if this was not kind of a lifetime achievement/going away present for Bird, who most expect to leave the Pacers after this season.

Not that he didn’t deserve it, Bird has made a numbers of smart moves that have brought the Pacers to a 42-24 record and the third seed in the East, a team that has advanced to the second round of the playoffs and is giving the Heat all they can handle.

He drafted Roy Hibbert and Paul George in recent years to put around Danny Granger. This summer he signed David West then later traded for Leandro Barbosa. He also found and hired coach Frank Vogel.

Second place in the voting went to Spurs GM R.C. Buford, who has remade the Spurs roster around the big three and turned them into an offensive force and contender.

Third was the Clippers Neil Olshey, who has turned around the Clipper franchise and was able to swing the blockbuster trade for Chris Paul. Olshey was my choice, not simply for the Paul trade but more for being at the heart of changing the culture around at what had been the worst franchise in the Association.

Chicago’s Gar Forman was fourth, Utah’s Kevin O’Conner fifth.

Bulls will pick up option on Tom Thibodeau’s contract

Tom Thibodeau

It’s a no brainer.

Bulls GM Gar Forman confirmed during a press conference Tuesday the team will pick up the option on Tom Thibodeau’s contract for next season. From the AP:

Forman says Thibodeau is “one of the finest coaches in the league” and the Bulls are “hopeful he’ll be our coach long term.”

Thibodeau has been a success — 112-36 in two regular seasons, one trip to the conference finals and one Coach of the Year award — not just because he has Derrick Rose but also because he got the team to buy into a defensive mindset at the other end of the floor. He had the team playing well without Rose.

Which he’s going to have to do next season with Rose out until late December at the earliest. Maybe eventually Thibodeau’s grinding style will wear out its welcome with Bulls players, but we are a long way from then.

Winderman: Odd NBA executive vote mostly anti-Riley sour grapes

Pat Riley

So what does the NBA think of the notion of securing a big bag of money and throwing it in front of three of the game’s best players?

Apparently not much.

So despite landing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh during last summer’s free-agency-free-for-all, Heat President Pat Riley received only a partial cut of the NBA Executive of the Year award when the balloting results were announced Tuesday.

Actually, Riley was gifted that piddling stake.

In the vote of one executive from each of the league’s 30 teams, Riley received 11 votes, as did Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.

Trouble was, Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson finished third with three votes.

In essence, there were 14 votes for what the Bulls accomplished, 11 for the Heat’s haul.

First, let’s recap: The Bulls visited Cleveland in July to woo James. They then held multiple meetings with Wade and Bosh in Chicago.

Riley signed all three.

Chicago then settled for consolation prizes Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer.

Granted, the Bulls did finish ahead of the Heat in the Eastern Conference.

But it wasn’t because of Boozer, Korver or Brewer.

It was because they won the 2008 NBA Draft lottery over the Heat, getting Derrick Rose at No. 1, with the Heat settling for Michael “since-traded” Beasley at No. 2.

There is no debating the Bulls had arguably the league’s best player this season in Rose, who was named MVP.

And Tom Thibodeau accomplished as much as any coach, closing with the league’s best record on the way to the nod as Coach of the Year.

But exactly which of the 19 team executives that didn’t vote for Riley wouldn’t have taken his haul over any other?

Non-Riley Voter: “Yeah boss, I know we can sign LeBron, Wade and Bosh, but this Boozer guy sometimes plays defense, this Korver dude does one thing very well, and this Brewer fella can defend when he’s not hurt.”

Owner of team run by Non-Riley Voter: “You are an idiot.”

Or, of course, someone who got burned by Riley.

Hmm, the Bulls, Clippers, Cavaliers, Nets and Knicks all interviewed LeBron in Cleveland. (We figure it’s safe to say that if you work for Dan Gilbert, you don’t dare vote for Riley.)

That’s five nays.

The Raptors lost Bosh.

There’s six.

The Magic and Mavericks have had their feuds for years with the Heat.

Seven and eight.

And many would-be contenders saw their chances evaporate when Riley got his Big Three.

Nine, 10 11 . . . you get the point.

There is, of course, consolation for Riley.

Along with half an award . . . he also still has LeBron, Wade and Bosh, and possibly some championship hardware on the way.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for theSouth Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Miami’s Pat Riley, Chicago’s Gar Forman co-Executives of Year

Miami Heat President Pat Riley smiles following a preseason workout of the  NBA basketball team at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach

The executives who orchestrated the two biggest turnarounds in the NBA this season — Pat Riley of the Miami Heat and Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls — will share the NBA’s Executive of the Year award.

Well, privately they probably share this about as well as two 3-year-old girls in a room with one Princess Ariel doll. But publically they will say nice things. And Riley got screwed in this vote, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

There were 30 votes from team executives (you can’t vote for yourself, insert your own Riley joke here) and both Forman and Riley got 11 votes. John Paxson of the Bulls finished third (we assume one of his votes was from the Clippers, who would like to choke Vinny Del Negro themselves).

Riley got robbed here.

Make no mistake, Forman did a fine job, he brought in coach Tom Thibodeau, which was the biggest step in the turnaround of the team. Well, that and drafting Derrick Rose, which was lottery luck. Forman also brought in Carlos Boozer and filled out the rest of a good Bulls roster.

But Riley… look, you may love to hate the Big Three, but to pull that off was a brilliant and ballsy move. He had to take huge risks, clear out loads of cap space, convince everyone to go with the plan, get them all to sign for less so that Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller could be brought in. (Okay, so Miller proves he’s not perfect.)

Riley lapped the field as executive of the year. That he didn’t win shows how other executives around the league feel about him more than anything. Watching his team jell the last couple weeks, Riley doesn’t care what they think.