One to go: Bulls fire Gar Forman, reassign John Paxson and (hopefully) take aim at Jim Boylen

We knew this day was coming when the team hired Arturas Karnisovas to be its new basketball operations boss. But it still feels good.

SHARE One to go: Bulls fire Gar Forman, reassign John Paxson and (hopefully) take aim at Jim Boylen
The Bulls have pushed aside vice president John Paxson (left) and fired general manager Gar Forman.

The Bulls have pushed aside vice president John Paxson (left) and fired general manager Gar Forman.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Every day is the same during the coronavirus pandemic. You wake up. You eat something. You work, if you’re lucky enough to still have a job. If you work from home, it only adds to the sense of sameness. You eat some more. Your dog looks at you, thinks better of saying something uncharitable and goes back to sleep. You go for a walk. You watch TV. You go to bed.

Eight hours later, you wake up and greet the day through heavy eyelids: “Oh, you again.’’

Into that repetitive existence, Monday broke like a new dawn.

The Bulls fired general manager Gar Forman and moved vice president John Paxson into a diminished role as senior adviser of basketball operations. It was a day that should have come years earlier, but because the franchise has had a difficult time with goodbyes, it didn’t.

We can dwell on that or we can be happy that the Bulls seem to be serious about this whole change thing. Let’s go with that second part. The breakup of Gar-Pax would have been fine at any time of any year, but it was almost appropriate that it would occur while all of us are in jail socially. The duo kept the Bulls and their fans in jail competitively for years.

We knew this day was coming when the team hired Arturas Karnisovas last week to be its new basketball operations boss. But it still feels good. It at least feels like movement. The forward kind of movement? I don’t know. I just know that a beached franchise, one that seemed to delight in sneering at public sentiment toward its ways of doing business, is finally doing something.

It really doesn’t take much to put a spring in our step these days, does it?

There are no guarantees that Karnisovas is cut from a different cloth than Gar-Pax, and there are no guarantees that the Reinsdorfs, now that they’ve made these moves, won’t go back to sleep for another 20 years. But there is change, a stranger in this parts. And with change comes the possibility of success.

It’s a start, even if it’s arriving 10 years late. I said I was done with that complaint, didn’t I? Sorry.

Coach Jim Boylen, who should be the next to go, released a statement Monday praising the hiring of Karnisovas and thanking Gar-Pax for their support. There are several ways to look at Boylen’s communication: A) He knows he’s keeping his job, in which case everything I’ve praised about change and hope is dead wrong, and we’re all doomed; B) In a very public way, he’s sucking up to the man who will decide his fate; or C) The Bulls couldn’t tell Boylen to hold off on releasing his congratulatory statement because that would have told him he has no chance at continued employment with the franchise.

B and C are the most likely options mostly because I can’t stomach the idea of A being true.

If the Bulls are serious about starting fresh, there’s no way Boylen will be around next season. Zero chance. If Karnisovas wants to lose a fan base before he ever had it, he’ll retain Coach Boy Oh Boy. It just seems so fantastically impossible for the Bulls to come this far and then do something that is so against the wishes of most fans.

Never say never, but pray like hell for it.

It was an amazing morning, even though we had known most of the moves were coming. The only front-office question was whether the Bulls would give Forman a soft landing with a scouting job. They did not. They cut ties instead, the smart move for a franchise trying to sell fans on a new era. But there was no way chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was going to axe Paxson, who has been running the team since 2003 with no championships to show for it. Pax is a favored son, and favored sons never go away in Jerry Land.

Boylen is not a favored son. His job is in the hands of Karnisovas, who surely will want to bring in his own coach. Sooner would be much, much better than later. This isn’t about convenience or timing or the possibility of a few more games being played this season. It’s about perception as much as anything else. Are the Bulls really changing? Show us.

Things are happening. That’s the good news during a time when nothing good seems to be happening anywhere.

There is no more Gar-Pax as we know it. Replacements are on the way. Hooray. Now don’t dawdle with that Boylen firing, Arturas.

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