No matter where, when or who I converse with on all matters pertaining to Bulls basketball, one theme consistently permeates through all discussions - fire Gar Forman.
In the wake of 10 losses through their last 15 games, the Bulls' inept play has emotions running high among the fan base, and with it groans of displeasure grow stronger.
I understand why this notion exists. I get the frustration that has led to #FireGarPax hashtag being used as a salient closing to many tweets within my timeline over the last few weeks. It all makes sense, and on some days, I find myself agreeing with the group-think. But when the anger subsides and I've cooled off several hours post a frustrating loss to a sub-.500 team, I start wondering if firing Gar Forman is the easy part of the equation?
What happens next?
The simple answer is you find a replacement. Sure, that seems logical enough and I'm positive the common answer to the replacement would be, "ANYONE"! But isn't that part of the problem? Unlike when a player or coach is booted from an organization, as a fan, it's much easier for us to make an educated guess as to who the potential successor for the outgoing member of the organization should be.
With access to virtually every NBA game live on our TV's, computers or cell phones, we the supporters have been empowered with an array of tools through various mediums to gauge which player's compatibility fits onto the roster, be it via free agency, the NBA draft or through trade (even if seldomly used).
The same theory applies to coaches. It doesn't take the most astute fan to identify the difference between the best and worst of league's tacticians. There is a clear distinction between Gregg Popovich and Bryon Scott, and their placing within the hierarchy of coaches is easy pinpoint. So whenever a role within an NBA franchise requires filling, building a list of willing and capable coaches and players is effortless and obvious.
Can we say the same for NBA executives, though?
Hands up if you had heard of, or knew of the experience and skills of Tommy Sheppard, Arturas Karnisovas or Gersson Rosas? If your hand is raised, I'm sorry, but I'm going to assume you're lying.
All three men currently hold high ranking executives roles with the Washington Wizards, Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets, respectively. Notably, all three have been identified as potential replacements for Billy King, the recently fired General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets. If Mikhail Prokohov hadn't decided to pull the pin on King to start his search for a new GM, I doubt very much that their names would be receiving any notoriety from those outside of the close knit NBA community.
Other candidates for the vacant Nets role, are some names we may be more familiar with. Former Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors General Manager, Bryan Colangelo, has also been shortlisted, as has Danny Ferry, who spent time with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
We know of the resume Colangelo and Ferry have built over the years, but this knowledge only comes with the luxury of hindsight. We've learned of their competency, but prior to their first stint, could the common fan really offer any substantive intel or forecast their success?
So it's clear, I don't claim to know enough about rival team's backroom executives. I wouldn't have the slightest clue which Assistant General Manager from outside the Bulls organization I'd like to see chosen as Gar Forman's replacement. I don't know enough about one's role, background or experience outside of what Google tells me. That's all I have, and my assumption is that's all you have, too.
One name you frequently do hear as an alternative to Forman, is former Bulls front office executive, Matt Lloyd. Serving as an Assistant General Manager for the Orlando Magic since Jun. 29, 2012, Lloyd spend 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, with his last role being Director of College Scouting, which he held for 5 years.
For multiple reasons, Lloyd's name surfaces as the angst aimed at Forman builds. With amicable and existing relationships to key members of the Bulls' staff, the "who you know" factor favors Lloyd as a suitor. Familiarity is key, but more so is the goodwill assembled by Lloyd during his tenure as Director of College Scouting, to which it's said he had been critical in identifying late first-round talent such as Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.
As a scout, Lloyd was obviously terrific at his job and most certainly deserves any praise bestowed upon him for his role in the drafting success during his time with the Bulls, but outside of this, do we really know enough about the man to propose that a promotion to a General Manager role is justified? Does he have any experience in dealing with player agents? How about with sponsors, investors and other elite bigwigs with some semblance of sway within a franchise? Is his knowledge of the salary cap and its encompassing minutia understood to he nth degree?
Maybe he has these skills? Maybe he doesn't. I don't know, and that's the point.
There is a lot of work that goes into being a GM of an NBA team. It's not just about calling up a counterpart and offering up your own terrible player's for another team's quality assets, even if we like to play pretend and envision it as such. It's far more intricate and nuanced than we'll ever know from our vantage point, so it's tough to mount an argument about who should supersede Forman.
The unknowns from a fans perspective shouldn't prevent any executive's name being added to a list of suitors, nor should ignorance and limited information be reason enough to firmly sit on the status quo. If change is needed, let it come. Allow the powers that be to make the suitable call. No matter how just it may seem, you're free to plead for Gar Forman to be given the boot, but just know that you're citing a problem without offering a logical or informed solution to his successor.
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