Bulls move forward with front office, Hoiberg after “Bad Year”


SALT LAKE CITY, UT – FEBRUARY 1: The Chicago Bulls huddle around Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls to discuss their next play during the game against the Utah Jazz on February 1, 2016 at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

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CHICAGO - For those who know how the Bulls have operated over the past decade, the answer to the first question posed to the Bulls' front office wasn't much of a surprise.

Immediately after the opening statement from  John Paxson expressing the responsibility he and general manager Gar Forman felt about the playoff-less season just ended, the vice president of basketball operations shut down any thought that there would be a changes in the front office.

"There's was report that Gar's job was in jeopardy," said Paxson. "It's not."

Not long after their news conference ended owner Jerry Reinsdorf confirmed as much in a statement released by the team around 10:15 PM, putting his faith in Forman, Paxson and head coach Fred Hoiberg after a difficult season.

"Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman spoke about the disappointment that everyone in the Bulls organization, including myself, feels about this season," said Reinsdorf in the statement. "They also talked about the commitment shared by all of us – John, Gar, Fred, Michael and me – to be strategic and aggressive in the steps taken to improve the team.

"I want our fans to know that we are grateful for the way they stood by us during a season in which we fell far short of our expectations and that the resources needed will be made available to get this team moving in the right direction."

From a management standpoint, that's keeping things pretty much the same. When it comes to the players, Paxson left nothing assured about the current roster after citing a lack of fight in the group which caused the Bulls to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-2008 season.

"Look, we had a bad year. We're not running from that. We're not running from it. Gar and I both. We know some changes need to be made. Anybody who knows me knows that I'll go down with a group that fights before I'll go down with a group that doesn't.

"We need more of those type of guys I can tell you that."

Paxson would also like to see Hoiberg play more of a role in making that happen in the locker room. As he threw support behind him in the news conference on Wednesday, Paxson also expressed the need for the coach to grow in motivating a team over the course of an 82-game season.

Same goes for getting the group to embrace a faster-paced, more up-tempo style of basketball which Hoiberg specialized in at Iowa State yet couldn't get working consistently during the Bulls' 42-40 regular season.

"That's what the league is getting to now. It's more skilled basketball players, more pace up and down. We didn't play that way for a lot of reasons," said Paxson. "I think that's where Fred and his staff really have to get down to detail and get our guys to play that way because I don't necessarily think it's a personnel issue.

"If you demand of people and you hold accountable, I think you can get them to do things on the floor."

Can this group do that as currently assembled?

Neither Forman or Paxson committed to any player on the roster for next season. Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, E'Twaun Moore, and Aaron Brooks are the unrestricted free agents for next season yet rumors have flown about other players.

Could Jimmy Butler get moved? Would the Bulls shop Derrick Rose with just a year left on the contract? After missing the playoffs, any scenario seemed possible as the front office faced the media on Wednesday.

"Like Gar said, everything's on the table," said Paxson when asked a question specifically about Rose's future with the team.

"There's no one that's untouchable?," followed up the reporter.

"No," said Paxson. "I played with one guy who was untouchable that I've ever been around. That's how I've always looked at it."

For the moment the only ones that are sit in the front office and in front of the Bulls bench. If the team wants to move forward with change it will first happen drastically with those on the court.





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