If Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is on his way out, GM Gar Forman must go with himNovember 9, 2018
NEW ORLEANS – Fred Hoiberg will not survive beyond this season as the Bulls head coach.
It might not come at Christmas or even by February. Heck, it might drag on until April, when the 2018-19 campaign has come to another long, disappointing end, but it will come.
The writing on the wall is building, the narrative is already being spun.
Hoiberg will be the latest fall guy, while this organization will once again have missed the real target.
If Hoiberg doesn’t see Year 5 of his five-year contract and general manager Gar Forman doesn’t take the fall for this along the way, it is the organization knocking on the door of every single Bulls fan and season-ticket holder, kicking at it, and sticking both middle fingers up when it’s opened.
It is chairman Jerry Reinsdorf telling his fan base “I don’t give a damn what you think.’’
This is no longer about Reinsdorf’s blind loyalty to front office personnel, it has turned into flat-out defiance. Defiance to a message that is loud and clear – Forman has failed miserably in his current post.
He is disliked by many in his own organization, players – current and former – find him distrustful, and more importantly, he is a punchline by other organizations.
At best, he’s an adequate scout.
But an NBA general manager? Not even close.
Forman’s best trait? He’s a survivor. Forman avoids blame and accountability much like a roach avoids light. It works in the dark and scurries away when exposed.
Here’s all you need to know about the Bulls and Forman – they gave him a contract extension last year, and did everything they could to keep it a secret.
Extensions are usually proud moments. A press conference, a statement, a chance for the organization to beat its chest and say, “This is our guy.’’
Since that extension they’ve had Forman stay away from the team and media, like an embarrassing uncle.
VP of basketball John Paxson has taken over most of the heavy lifting in the public eye, which really isn’t his job description. Forman? “Scouting.’’
Why the role switch?
Because the Bulls know that each time Forman speaks publicly it is instant distain from the fan base.
He can hide no more, however.
While the relationship is longer what it was, Hoiberg was Forman’s guy.
Forman was back-channeling with the then Iowa State coach for almost a year, plotting the eventual demise of former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau throughout the 2014-15 season. After Thibodeau was fired, it was Forman who labeled Thibodeau’s tenure as having “some success.’’
A 255-139 (.647 winning percentage) is “some success’’ in Forman’s world.
He lied to the media that day, insisting that a vast coaching search would take place. Please, Hoiberg was already hired, just needing to sign.
Yes, Forman has hit on draft picks like Jimmy Butler, and likely on Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., but there’s still too many Tony Snells on his resume, and even worse, not allowing Thibodeau to get his wish in the 2012 draft and land Draymond Green. Instead, Forman was talked into Marquis Teague by the Kentucky coaching staff.
The biggest indictment, however, is Forman hasn’t landed one big-name free agent. The Bulls can rebuild all they want, but at some point they need to add stars. Stars aren’t attracted to awkward conversation from a guy that comes across like a bad used car salesman.
The Sun-Times reported in the offseason that Reinsdorf was not thrilled with the development of the younger players, and sources indicated that hasn’t changed.
Fair or unfair, Hoiberg is on borrowed time.
Forman has to go with him.
The roach can no longer avoid the light.