John Paxson Rumors
“I do think that anybody who watched us play this year saw a team that didn’t have the collective fight and toughness to fight through adversity,” Paxson continued. “To me that’s the biggest disappointment in all of this. That falls on all of us. We put the roster together; the coaching staff and players, we’re all in this together. That’s the way it should be. Again, it goes back to responsibility and accountability for all of us. Gar (Forman, general manager) and I know we’re ultimately the ones that are responsible. Moving forward, we understand changes are going to have to be made.”
But Butler’s emboldened state after landing a max contract led to several disruptive moments throughout the season, in film sessions and on the practice floor, sources said. That they continued sometimes unchecked throughout the season didn’t bode well for team chemistry, which started to fray in Thibodeau’s last season. In fact, that reason is why there’s optimism for Hoiberg’s future. Even management now believes this core was held together one season too long, that any coach would’ve struggled to overcome this tired team’s tendency to give in to adversity.
All indications are executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman will lead that attempt. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf long has valued management continuity and praises Paxson in any rare interview. Forman has cultivated a strong relationship with Michael Reinsdorf, the team’s president and chief executive officer. Their wives run the Bulls’ charity arm.
Hoiberg is viewed as his hire, though it was signed off on unanimously. Forman prevailed in the internal debate over whether to try to finalize a Pau Gasol-to-the-Kings trade deadline deal, though there was sentiment that with Mike Dunleavy just back the team could make a run as well as not loving the return from the Kings. Forman then publicly doubled down on re-signing Gasol, calling him part of the core. That stance has softened with Noah a priority, sources said, and Gasol also will entertain free-agency options.
“I talk with Gar and Pax (Gar Forman and John Paxson) almost every other day, so I never get that feeling (of being shopped), but you never know,” Gibson said. “An offer could be made and things could be shaken up. It’s a part of the business. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you or don’t appreciate you. It’s just that it’s a business. I totally understand it. There’s a lot of opinions (in the media). Everyone has their opinions, especially with social media where everything is out there. But it’s really hard to have your complete opinion on (the team for this season) until everyone is completely healthy. We had stretches when we won games and everyone was completely healthy. You’ve got to understand: We’ve got a new coach. We have the same players, but new young guys. We still (have to) work through it. We know what it takes.’’