Bulls could be looking at multiple hires to work under John Paxson
According to a source, the Bulls’ front office could be expanding beyond a general manager but still be under the umbrella of Paxson and Michael Reinsdorf.
When the trade deadline came and went less than two weeks ago, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson insisted how crucial player evaluation would be for the Bulls over the remainder of the season.
What has grown in momentum, though, is that the evaluation process isn’t just focused on the roster.
Multiple media outlets, including the Sun-Times, reported over the All-Star Weekend that both Paxson and COO Michael Reinsdorf were taking advantage of the fact that most of the basketball world had converged on Chicago, using the opportunity to do further legwork on the upcoming restructuring of their front office.
A source familiar with the situation told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that there could be multiple people hired, as the power structure is still being determined.
Current general manager Gar Forman is expected to stay with the organization, although with a different title, but that doesn’t mean the Bulls are just searching for a GM to fill that spot. The front office is considered behind the times based on where many franchises currently are, which means Reinsdorf and Paxson are set to get creative.
Paxson and Reinsdorf are still running the show, with Paxson still considered to have a valuable seat at the table no matter what title they come up for him.
Even if it appears that Paxson will be taking a background approach, the source said don’t believe it. The Reinsdorfs still have 100 percent faith in him leading the direction of this organization.
The hope is that this restructure will free Paxson up from carrying the weight of basically two roles — since Forman slowly has lost his standing the last few seasons — as well as give the Bulls some new voices in the room, and more importantly, change the optics from the outside.
The Bulls have known that the only way this rebuild would live up to what they initially promised back in 2017 was the addition of multiple superstar players — either through the draft or in free agency. They have failed on both fronts so far.
Zach LaVine is a borderline All-Star, but on a legit playoff contender he would be a No. 2 option at best.
Here’s a list of some potential problem-solvers for the Bulls to look at:
• Mark Bartelstein: The former investment banker turned super agent founded Chicago-based Priority Sports and Entertainment, which represents 24 NBA first-round picks.
Bartelstein has represented stars such as Bradley Beal, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Lowry. And with franchises such as the Lakers, Warriors and now the Knicks going the way of adding an agent to their front office, Bartelstein makes sense.
• Shane Battier: The two-time NBA champion is currently the director of basketball development and analytics with the Heat, and the talk is team president Pat Riley has big plans for him.
Why not steal him now and give him the GM title?
• Trajan Langdon: Is it too late now that New Orleans grabbed him and made him a GM? Not if the Bulls are willing to give him a vice-president title.
• Rich Paul: The agent to LeBron James and Anthony Davis might be the most connected name currently in the NBA. He would warrant a vice-president title without question and would be a huge gamble for an organization that seldom rolls the dice with front-office hires.
NOTE: The Bulls announced that Kris Dunn (right MCL sprain) will continue his current rehab program and be re-evaluated in four to six weeks.