While the Bulls fired head coach Fred Hoiberg today, they don’t expect to part ways with general manager Gar Forman anytime soon, according to executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson.
As K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune relays, Paxson issued a strong defense of Forman today, telling reporters that the GM is “absolutely safe” in his current role, a stance that sources confirmed privately to Johnson. Paxson also dismissed the idea that Hoiberg’s initial hiring was all on Forman.
“First of all, the belief that Gar solely made that decision was wrong and always has been,” Paxson said. “Those are reports. We can’t battle everything. I was 100% on board with hiring Fred. Jerry (Reinsdorf) and Michael (Reinsdorf) were 100% on board with hiring Fred. I work with Gar every day. I understand his internal value to this organization.”
Paxson technically sits above Forman in Chicago’s basketball operations hierarchy, but the general manager has a significant voice in roster moves and coaching hires, with Paxson indicating today that the two executives work in tandem and “make decisions together.” Those coaching and personnel decisions have been hit-and-miss for the Bulls in recent years, and Forman has also faced criticism for not speaking more to reporters, which Paxson addressed this afternoon with Forman unavailable for comment.
“I’m the person who will stand up in front and talk about why we do certain things. That’s just the way it is,” Paxson said. “It’s not that he’s not talking because he doesn’t want to. It’s because I choose to speak for this organization. And I feel passionately about his role with us.
“We’ve made some great decisions in terms of young personnel the last couple years,” Paxson continued. “And as we have the opportunity to make more decisions, he’ll be front and center. We’ll work in tandem and we hope to do the right thing.”