7:57pm: K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago echoes many of Cowley’s points in his own report, writing that talk has been “rampant throughout All-Star weekend” about the changes the Bulls are expected to make to their front office. The team is seeking someone to take on the day-to-day basketball operations and become a “fresh voice and face of the franchise,” writes Johnson.
7:21pm: The Bulls are in the early stages of adding a new executive to their front office, sources tell Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and COO Michael Reinsdorf have begun to do legwork – through back channels – on potential candidates.
Cowley, who suggests the Bulls are in the market for a general manager “with a louder voice,” writes that the search is expected to be widespread. Gar Forman still holds the GM role in Chicago for now, but senior advisor Doug Collins is among those who are in favor of a change, according to Cowley.
As Cowley explains, the idea would be for Paxson to “slip into the background” as the new general manager assumes media duties. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf likes the model employed by the Chicago White Sox, with Ken Williams in the background as the VP while Rick Hahn has been more empowered in his GM role. For the Bulls, Paxson would take on a Williams-esque role, with the new GM playing Hahn’s part.
Forman, meanwhile, would likely be reassigned to a scouting position rather than being fired, per Cowley, who notes that the team wants to build up its scouting department this spring.
Paxson and Forman have headed the Bulls’ front office for over a decade, much to the chagrin of a significant faction of Bulls fans. During Friday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, when guard Zach LaVine was asked whether he has confidence in Chicago’s decision-makers, the fans in attendance began to boo and a chant of “Fire GarPax!” broke out (link via Madeline Kenney of The Chicago Sun-Times).
Assuming the Bulls do move forward with the front office changes Cowley outlines in his report, it’ll be interesting to see whether the club sticks with head coach Jim Boylen, who has received the full support of the current group. Boylen’s current contract isn’t a long-term deal, so it’s possible a new GM would be given the go-ahead to make the call on his future.