Bulls fire long-time general manager Gar Forman, name John Paxson new Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations

The Chicago Bulls continue to make major changes to their front office. On Monday, the team announced that long-time general manager Gar Forman has been relieved of his duties. Forman was named general manager of the Bulls in 2009 after he had spent over a decade with the organization serving as a scout and director of player personnel, among other roles. 

Forman had some early success as Chicago’s GM. He was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2011, and the team made it to the postseason in each of his first seven seasons under his role. However, the Bulls have struggled in recent years to build back into a legitimate title contender. They’ve missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons (not including the suspended 2019-20 season) and Forman has been on the receiving end of his fair share of criticism for poor draft picks and an inability to draw top talent to Chicago in free agency.  As a result, the team felt like it was time to move in a different direction. 

“Gar Forman worked tirelessly for the Chicago Bulls organization, first as a scout and then as an executive,” Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “He made many significant contributions during his time here and helped to bring some of the brightest young basketball talent to our team, from Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to Jimmy Butler and Coby White. He has been a trusted advisor and friend to me over the years, and on behalf of everyone I want to thank him for his commitment to the organization. Gar will always be a part of our Bulls family.”  

Though things in Chicago didn’t end how Forman probably would have wanted, he had a good run with the Bulls, and he acknowledged as much in his own statement. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work for the Chicago Bulls for more than two decades,” Forman said. “There is no better ownership group in professional sports than the Reinsdorfs, and I want to thank Jerry and Michael for their support during my tenure. The Bulls organization will always hold a special place in my heart.”  

In addition to moving on from Forman, the Bulls also announced that John Paxson will be moving into a new role as Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations. Paxon has held various positions within Chicago’s front office since 2003. He also played for the Bulls from 1985 to 1994.  

“When I came here in 1985, I never imagined what the Chicago Bulls would mean to me more than 35 years later,” Paxon said of the promotion. “While I’m in a new role and a new phase in my life, what won’t ever change is my commitment to the Bulls and appreciation to Jerry and Michael for the incredible opportunities I’ve been afforded … I truly believe this is a great opportunity for the Bulls organization and that there are bright days ahead.”  

The decisions to move on from Forman and alter Paxon’s position come just days after the Bulls hired former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive vice president of basketball operations. The Bulls will now have to identify a replacement for Forman. They have already hired former New Orleans Pelicans executive director of basketball administration J.J. Polk as an assistant general manager. 

The Bulls will also have a decision to make regarding head coach Jim Boylen, as the new front office may want to bring in its own hire. Boylen hasn’t necessarily done himself any favors on the sideline; he has compiled an underwhelming 39-84 record since he was promoted to the role of head coach following the dismissal of Fred Hoiberg in December of 2018, and he has struggled to win the support of his players.  

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