It seems that the GarPax era with the Chicago Bulls has finally come to an end as reports are surfacing that the team is ready to move on from general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president John Paxson.
When did the GarPax era begin?
Following a playing career that included three championships with the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s, John Paxson became an assistant coach under Phil Jackson for the 1995-1996 season but then decided to move into broadcasting. In 2003, Paxson left the booth to become the Bulls’ general manager, a position he held until 2009 when he was made Vice President of Basketball Operations.
His replacement at the general manager position was Gar Forman, who had joined the Bulls as a scout in 1998. Forman was promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 2004 and held that role until he replaced Paxson as general manager.
Bulls fans have been fed up with Paxson and Forman for quite some time
The GarPax era certainly hasn’t been a successful one. Once the most dominant franchise in the NBA, obviously due to the success of the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen-led teams of the ’90s, the Bulls just fell off once that era was over. Yes, there has been a bright spot or two, including the MVP run of Derrick Rose in 2011, the same year Chicago made it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998, losing in five games to the Miami Heat. Gar Forman was even named NBA Executive of the Year that season.
However, overall, the franchise hasn’t had much success. Since Paxson first became an executive ahead of the 2003-2004 season, a season in which the Bulls finished with the second-worst record in the NBA at 23-59, Chicago has missed the playoffs five times (it will be six if this season ever gets going again), lost in the first round of the postseason seven times, lost in the second round three times, and the conference finals loss in 2011. In that span, the Bulls have run through six head coaches, seven if you count the few games that Pete Myers ran.
Recent years have been tough for the Bulls. They’ve made the postseason just once in the past five years and fans have been calling for the firing of GarPax and calling for it quite loudly. During the NBA All-Star festivities in February, which were at the United Center, fans started a “Fire GarPax” chant as Bulls guard Zach LaVine gave an ESPN interview.
It looks as if the John Paxson and Gar Forman era is over
It now seems that Bulls fans aren’t the only ones fed up with John Paxson and Gar Forman. In a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bulls owner Michael Reinsdorf is expected to begin his search for a new front office next week. The original timeline was set for the end of the season, which may have already happened for Chicago as some believe that only playoff contenders will be back in action if and when this season resumes following the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s said that John Paxson is likely to stay with the team in an advisory role but that Forman’s future with the organization is unclear. Potential candidates being discussed are Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas, Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, and Miami Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon.