Was this really even in doubt?
There certainly have been times in the past when questioning the moves of Bulls’ president John Paxson and GM Gar Forman was a favorite pastime around the league, as was questioning the wisdom of keeping them around. The Bulls ownership, now led by Michael Reinsdorf, stuck with them anyway.
If the Bulls didn’t fire GarPAx then, it certainly isn’t going to happen now.
The pair has done a solid job recently and the Bulls are starting to round into something. What exactly remains to be seen, but Lauri Markkanen has played like a future All-Star since returning from injury, Zach LaVine has earned his big contract as a scorer (for this year, at least) and become an improved playmaker, Otto Porter is a good fit, Wendell Carter Jr. looks like a keeper, and in their last 10 games the Bulls are 6-4 with a +1.7 net rating. The Bulls are taking steps forward.
So when K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune asked Reinsdorf if Paxson and Forman were coming back, you knew what the answer would be.
Absolutely. We believe they’ve done a great job. I know that in this market, with some of our fans and some in the media, they look at it differently. That perplexes me…
Right now, we’re going through our second rebuild. That also mystifies me. I listen to some people who reach out to me asking how many rebuilds can we do. This is our second rebuild. And given where we are today, I think for Year 2 of our rebuild to have two potential All-Stars in Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine and a great draft pick in Wendell Carter Jr., we’re in good shape. Wendell injured himself, but I think we have a good enough sample size to know he’s going to be a solid NBA player. I think he’ll bring a lot to the defensive end and he’s very skilled. And then the trade for Otto Porter Jr., I know it’s only eight games, but the numbers speak for themselves. The offensive output has increased dramatically.
When asked about coach Jim Boylen, Reinsdorf sounded like the coach would return, too. Which was always the preferred plan in Chicago.
The Bulls are going to end up with another high draft pick — if the season ended today, Chicago would have a 12.5 percent shot at the No. 1 pick could land anywhere from 1-8, there’s a lot more fluctuation now. There’s a 25.7 percent chance they get the No. 6 pick (the highest odds of any one landing spot), which even in what is considered a down draft should land them a future rotation player such as Romeo Langford of Indiana or Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech.
The Bulls are in a good spot, this time GarPax should be given a chance.