It became evident at the end of last season that the Bulls front office is all but fireproof, and on Friday it was obvious that they are also an insulated group when it comes to criticism.
General manager Gar Forman was asked about what should have been a turbulent last six months for both he and VP of basketball of operations John Paxson, and sounded like a guy that was totally removed from what has been going on around him.
“Whatever you’re talking about, the critics or the job, I haven’t seen that,’’ Forman said. “You’ll have to tell me where that’s from.’’
Well, it’s from first dismissing a winning coach in Tom Thibodeau two years ago, and then a series of miscalculations with not only the roster but the staff that led to the Bulls missing out on the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Add in veteran players like Joakim Noah telling sources that he was done with the Bulls and moving on to New York because of a distrust in the direction of the front office, and it would seem like Forman has been out of touch from his surroundings.
He had a different explanation.
“We just come in and grind and do our job each and every day, with a focus on our players, a focus on getting better, and putting ourselves in the best possible position to have success,’’ Forman said.
Old ball coach
Thibodeau made his first return to the bench of the United Center Friday night, working as an assistant for Team USA in their exhibition game with Venezuela.
The bad moments seem to be all but erased for the former Bulls coach, who is now the coach/president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves.
“Five years coaching and I stayed here last year as well, and I love the city,’’ Thibodeau said. “The fans were great to me the whole time. When you look back you think about all the great memories that you had. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach here, great history, great tradition, and we had great guys.’’