After Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times and K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported during All-Star weekend that the Bulls were laying the groundwork to hire a new general manager and re-assign Gar Forman to a scouting role, both reporters have offered updates on Chicago’s forthcoming front office changes.
A source tells Cowley that the Bulls are still determining how the power structure in the new-look front office will work, noting that multiple executives could be hired, rather than just a GM to replace Forman. Cowley’s source also says that VP of basketball operations John Paxson will still have a “valuable seat at the table” in the restructured front office, even if it appears as if he’s transitioning to a background role.
While it remains to be seen how the Bulls’ management group will be structured once new hires are made, Cowley’s report indicates that Paxson and COO Michael Reinsdorf are still “running the show.” The Reinsdorfs – including owner Jerry Reinsdorf – have “100 percent faith” in Paxson to lead the organization, Cowley writes.
If a new general manager has to report to Paxson, it may be more challenging for the Bulls to recruit a top-tier candidate. However, K.C. Johnson hears from multiple league sources that Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan is one candidate who appears to be gaining momentum.
Buchanan, who previously held front office roles in Charlotte and Portland, was named Indiana’s GM in 2017 when the team promoted Kevin Pritchard to president of basketball operations. According to Johnson, Buchanan is “widely known for his embrace of analytics.” He and Pritchard have done a good job retooling the Pacers’ roster over the last three years, starting with the Paul George trade that netted the team a pair of All-Stars (Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis) despite being widely panned at the time.
Because he’s already a level below the head of basketball operations in Indiana, Buchanan may be open to a position working under – or alongside – Paxson in Chicago. Still, Johnson’s report doesn’t suggest that the Bulls have asked for or received permission to interview the Pacers’ executive yet.