A long discussion with Gar Forman

I sat down with Gar Forman during the NBA Summer League and had a long conversation on various topics.   The recorder was off, so the following is a paraphrase of our conversation.
  We talked significantly about the salary cap, and how the Bulls work with it.   He couldn’t tell me how much money the Bulls saved on Tim
Thomas’s buyout, but he did confirm that the Bulls saved enough money
to keep Aaron Gray on the qualifying offer to stay under the tax.

He also told me that there isn’t a hard limit at the luxury tax barrier
and that Jerry Reinsdorf has never set a limit at that spot.   He said
the Bulls could go into the tax, but reiterated that they would need to
do so with purpose.   A star player, a team ready to contend, something
that would make paying the tax logical for the long term health of the

Which of course makes sense.   No team is going into the tax unless
they feel it’s helping the team significantly in the long term or short
term.  It makes little sense to spend the money unless it impacts
winning a significant amount.

We spoke about Ben Gordon, and he asked me to whom I would prefer:  Ben
Gordon or Kirk Hinrich.   I said it would depend.   To me, on a value
contract, Ben Gordon was better, but if it was going to cost 12 million
to keep Ben Gordon as it likely would have this year, that I liked Kirk

I also mentioned how I felt neither was a great long term fit next to
Rose, but Hinrich’s contract ended the year Rose required a big
extension which worked better from a cap management perspective than
Ben Gordon on a five or six year deal.

Gar raised the question about losing Ben Gordon for nothing and made
the following points.    First, the team gained flexibility in 2010.  
If you’ve been reading anything I’ve written for the past few years
then you know how much I value that as an asset.   They also made the
Miller/Salmons trade knowing that doing so might cost them the
flexibility to resign Ben.  

However, in that trade, the Bulls brought in two assets who helped the
team considerably and will continue to help the team this year while
clearing out a bad long-term contract.   Those assets weren’t brought
in for Ben Gordon, but they occupy the space that would have gone to

I asked about what the Bulls requested of Rose, Noah, and Tyrus during
the summer.   He answered that the primary thing he hoped to see them
improve in was strength.   I presume he was focusing in on Noah and
Tyrus with statement.    He said that everyone has been working out
really hard and the Bulls young guys were having very productive

He reiterated that Luol Deng is 100% healthy, and that he’s working out three times a day.   

I asked him whether or not the Bulls were going to talk extension with
Tyrus Thomas.   My theory has long been that the Bulls wouldn’t offer
an extension to Tyrus in order to save 2010 cap space.   Gar couldn’t comment on any on going negotiations, but I still maintain Tyrus will likely wait a year.

It’s also clear that Gar is a big James Johnson fan, much like
myself.    He said Johnson can definitely play the three or the four,
but agreed with me when I noted that there seemed to be more minutes
available at the four.  

All in all, Gar Forman was a straight shooter, generous with his time,
and one of the friendliest guys I’ve met at a basketball function.   I
left the gym feeling much better about the Bulls future than when I
entered it.


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  • Money shouldn't get in the way of anything. Who would thought Nowitzki contract would allow Marion, Dampier, Kidd, and other notables. When you're building a team, you get the mismatches. Ben Gordon clearly presented mismatches because he dribbled ow to the ground and his shot was top 3 in the league. I'm not buying all this B.S. that he's 6'0'', so we can't pay him. If he was Kobe Bryant height, then, clearly it wouldn't be unfair acts aimed at him. He spaces the floor with his ability to score and Kirk isn't doing that. Besides, you just replace a established guy with a player in Kirk, whom isn't respected and clearly is struggling with confidence. That's a terrible situation when you look forward. Salmons won't be potent in the near future. Ben Gordon will be!

  • Great stuff Doug!

  • Thank you for the update. There is basicaly nothing new but it is remarkable how face to face conversation changed your attitude towards things. At first I wanted to add at this point that you would probably deny that and say that you have always felt that way, but then you admited that much yourself in your closing statement. (I fel like I stronlgy underutilize the word "that" but THAT's OK, I guess.)

  • I think what's new here is that it provides a little transperancy into the thought process behind some of the choices management has made. I think a very small number of fans actually believe that management a) has a plan and b) actually thinks through. Articles like this should clear some of that up, but then again, the 2nd comment posted is still complete nonsense so maybe that's hoping for too much.

  • oops...
    b) thinks things through.

  • Agree with your last statement wholeheartedly, if not briliant, at least as good as can be expected given where we were at the end of the 07-08 season.

    Surprised to see you appear with Der Fuhrer over at DBagaBull, since he doesn't allow any dissent with regard to Ben Gordon being the single most important player in Bulls histroy, save of course for Michael Jordan.

    The Bulls have done exactly what they needed to do, to make the team as competitive as possable in the short term, and give us the best shot at a quantum leap with 2010 free agency.

    I still say that we should make Lebron our #1 priority and D Wade #2. I think that RDorf is just cheap enough to realize what a gold mine he had with Jordan, and he knows that James is the only guy who could recreate that money making machine from the 90's.

    Look if we can convince either or both of those guys that coming to Chicago together would be a homerun for both of them, on and off the court, we could get them to "force" the Cavs and Heat to S&T trade them to us(Deng for Lebron, Hinrich for Wade) and lock them both up for the 6 years of thier respective primes.

    Rose, Wade, Lebron, Tyrus and Noah, with Salmons, Johnson and Gibson to back them up sounds like a heck of a team to start 2010 with.

    I know that I am looking forward to next offseason as much as if not more than the upcoming season. With Gordon on board that would not be the case. Short of actually winning the championship, hope for the future is the greatest thing keeping most of us fans going.

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