Gar Forman became the general manager of the Chicago Bulls in May of 2009. Since then, he and his partner in crime, President of Basketball Operations John Paxson, have made terrible decision after terrible decision.
At their peak, the Bulls had chance after chance to make it to the NBA Finals. When it seemed like they were just one star player away from being favorites in the Eastern Conference, GarPax cheaped out. They failed to make a big enough splash to bring the Bulls to the next level. After they realized that their method of not reeling in the big fish wasn’t working, they decided to make a change. They fired Tom Thibodeau, whom many believed to be one of the best coaches in the NBA at the time. They brought in Fred Hoiberg, who has since brought about a lack of identity and toughness that the Bulls had under Thibs.
Fast forward a few years, and Chicago is no longer a playoff contender. In fact, they’re far from it. As of this writing, they are 3-14, which is the worst record in the entire league. On the surface, this doesn’t sound all that good, and it shouldn’t. However, it shows that the Bulls have finally committed to rebuilding.
But can they even do that right?
Chicago’s big step towards rebuilding was their trading of Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In return, the Wolves gave up Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. This seems like a decent deal at first, and it was, for the most part. Dunn hasn’t been fantastic, sure. Lauri Markannen, whom the Bulls drafted with the seventh pick, has been great thus far, though. He currently leads the Bulls in points and rebounds per game with 14.6 and 8.2, respectively. When LaVine comes back, he figures to be the star of their team.
However, it’s the little things that count. The Bulls also gave up the 16th overall pick in the Butler trade. Minnesota used that to select center Justin Patton out of Creighton. Although he has since injured his foot and has yet to play, he would’ve been a great addition to a young Chicago squad. The trade likely would’ve still happened if the Bulls had left their first-round pick out of the deal.
They wanted to trade Butler just for the sake of trading him, without trying to gain leverage.
The move that still has Bulls fans furious, though, was their trading of their second-round pick.
This may seem odd at first, as second-round picks typically don’t amount to much in the NBA. Jordan Bell, though, was not your average second-round pick. Many saw him as a late first-round prospect with potential to be a very good defender, rebounder and all-around athlete at the next level. Rotoden’s NBA Draft affiliate, EZ Draft, ranked him as the 27th-best player in the class.
So, naturally, the Bulls chose to trade Bell to the Golden State Warriors after picking him.
They didn’t choose to trade him for a veteran bench presence. They didn’t even trade him for a draft pick. Instead, the Bulls traded Bell for cash considerations.
Depending on how you look at it, the Bulls didn’t even use that money to improve their team. Rather, they used the money they gained in that trade to buy out the contract of Dwyane Wade.
In other words, Chicago passed up an opportunity to gain a solid role player in favor of getting worse.
Coincidentally, Bell’s first career start came against the Bulls this past Friday. The rookie ended up with seven points, six rebounds, four assists, six blocks and two steals.
But hey, cash considerations did pretty well, too.
Jordan Bell did the money sign during intros: "I just wanted to see how cash considerations was playing over there."
— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) November 25, 2017
Sure, Bell might not be anything more than a decent bench player in the NBA.
But he will always be the symbol of the complete and utter negligence of the Gar Forman-John Paxson regime.