GM Gar Forman deflects tough questions, wants fans to trust him

LAS VEGAS — General manager Gar Forman showed Monday that he’s either completely out of touch with the Bulls’ fan base or simply a master at bobbing and weaving when hit with uneasy questions.

It’s Sin City, so double down on both.

After another stinker of a Summer League game by the Bulls, Forman was asked if he grasped how much disdain there was back in Chicago for the team’s front office.

After all, “Fire Gar/Pax’’ billboards don’t spring up for nothing.

“I think we have great, great fans,’’ Forman said. “And I think we have passionate fans. And that’s one of the pluses of being in Chicago is that they’re very passionate about the Bulls.

‘‘We understand that it’s always hard when you’ve had a level of success, and then you’ve got to take a step back and go in a new direction as far as a rebuild is concerned. And we know that it’s going to be a process and there’s going to be ups and downs within that process, but we think the [Jimmy Butler] trade kind of gave us a step in the right direction as far as heading that way, where we got three young players who we really like.’’

Forman then detailed the organization’s “great level of flexibility,’’ and the Bulls’ “ability to have young players, develop those young players, have flexibility in order to add assets, and then draft picks will get us a step up in trying to go forward.’’

In other words, be patient, buy a ticket, watch the development and trust the front office.

Forman was asked about how to convince the fan base that the Bulls’ front office is accountable, especially after so many missteps during the last five years.

“Again, we needed to take a step back in order to start this rebuild,’’ Forman said. ‘‘And the key now will be player development, this group continuing to work, continuing to develop, continuing to play hard. The fans will continue to see progress with this group over the next year or two, and we’ll continue to add to it, and these guys will get better.’’

As for Dwyane Wade, Forman reiterated that there have been no buyout talks.

The good news is if being a bad team this season is the goal in order to land Michael Porter Jr. in next year’s draft, well, Forman is off to a great start.

On the same day the Bulls announced yet another small splash in officially signing Justin Holiday to a two-year, $9 million deal, they also watched their last two first-round picks — Denzel Valentine and Lauri Markkanen — combine to shoot 2-for-25 from the field (0-for-18 from three-point range) in a 75-55 loss to the Hawks.

At least Valentine had the excuse that this week is his first real action since minor offseason ankle surgery.

“I’ve never shot like that in my life,’’ Valentine said.

Valentine, however, was the first young player to admit that this team is built to try to land a player such as Porter.

“We have to control what we can control,’’ Valentine said. “Nobody’s out there playing to lose. We’re all out there playing to win. Of course, we want a high draft pick, but we have to make the most out of the season. Our approach to the season is to do the best we can.’’

Finally, some honesty.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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