TELANDER: Bulls’ Big Three or a 3-headed monster?
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I guess this is how Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf does his firings: He keeps everybody and hires one more guy.
It’s pretty obvious from the Bulls’ recent thrashings and blandness — an 83-81 record in the last two seasons, one eighth-place and one ninth-place finish in the Eastern Conference — that something is going badly and somebody could be expected to be launched for failure.
We’re speaking of general manager Gar Forman or vice president of basketball operations John Paxson. Maybe both.
But that’s not Reinsdorf’s way. So let’s consider what adding basketball lifer Doug Collins as the newly constructed senior adviser of basketball operations does for the franchise.
First off, it puts one more title on the Bulls’ masthead. Which is swell, but how long might it be until a super-duper senior adviser gets hired?
Collins — who was an All-American, an Olympian, the first pick in the 1973 NBA draft, a four-time All-Star and a former coach of the Bulls, Pistons and 76ers, plus a TV color commentator — knows basketball the way you or I know the socks on our feet.
That he will report to Paxson, an All-American, first-round pick, NBA champion, assistant NBA coach and game commentator, might be a little dicey.
Both men are competitive to the max. Both men can have short fuses. Both men are used to being at the top of the way things operate. Both men have great pride. Both men were feisty guards.
Forman? It’s anybody’s guess how he fits in, what autonomy he still will have, whose strings he still pulls.
The main thing all three men must do is coordinate the drafting, trading and acquisition of players so that the Bulls become a cohesive, driven team with an identity and deep skill set.
Oh, and there are the coaches, who also come under the three’s purview. The players must fit with the coaches and vice versa.
What if Collins doesn’t think Fred Hoiberg is the man to lead this team? You wonder how he would impart that opinion to Forman and Paxson — delicately? with gusto? — and whether the two would listen or bristle at the perceived meddling.
Never forget, kids, egos can be greater dividers than any paycheck, job title or friendship.
Collins has deep roots in Chicago — as does Paxson — and it seemed to this reporter when Collins shockingly was fired from his Bulls coaching job in 1989, even after leading the team to its first Eastern Conference finals appearance in 15 years, that Reinsdorf must hate him.
‘‘The fact that our relationship goes back more than 30 years certainly helps,’’ Reinsdorf said of the hiring. ‘‘But he is especially qualified to assist our leadership in rebuilding the Bulls.’’
OK, fine. Let’s be optimistic and look at this momentarily as a plus for the Bulls. Collins, 66, was essentially retired, spending time watching his son, Chris, coach the Northwestern men’s basketball team, and he should be energized.
Let’s say Forman and Paxson actually want Collins to help out. Let’s say the trio becomes like the Three Musketeers on the candy bar, a mighty triumvirate of sweetness and good taste. They like each other.
Isn’t that better than a castle revolution? Which could happen.
Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.