Gar Forman and John Paxson: The FireGarPax Movement and its Impact
In the city of Chicago, there’s a movement that is surrounding the Chicago Bulls organization, mainly targeted at the front office. This movement is aimed at the job removal of two Bulls executives. Those two being Bulls GM (General Manager) Gar Forman and the Bulls VP (Vice President) of Basketball Operations and former Bulls player John Paxson. The reasoning for this is for their countless mistakes and bad choices they have made during their tenure. It’s gotten so bad, that fans even made a website (firegarpax.com) that highlights their mistakes and is dedicated to the removal of the two executives.
How it started
This movement was something that has built up over the past decade rather than just show up spontaneously. Forman and Paxson both received their positions in 2009. Paxson was the GM and Forman was the Director of Player Personnel before they have the positions they’re in now. The problems that involve them started out pretty early in their tenures. With that, the movement grew through petitions, billboards throughout Chicago, and it even made national headlines when fans chanted “FireGarPax” on ESPN’s First Take.
One of their bigger mistakes happened in 2010 during the season. When Paxson reportedly got into a physical altercation with then Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro. Even though Gar Forman drafted Derrick Rose in 2011, he’s been criticized for passing up players. An example of this was in 2012 when the Bulls drafted Marquis Teague and passed over Jae Crowder, Draymond Green, and Khris Middleton. They have been heavily criticized for their trade and free-agent negotiations. An example of this was during 2017 when they traded Taj Gibson at the midseason trade deadline and then Jimmy Butler on draft night. One of their messier situations was the firing of Tom Thibodeau. This was due to a lot of tension between the front office and the head coach. An odd predicament considering Thibodeau had no history of problems with the front office prior to the Bulls.
With the movement finally getting national attention, it showed that Chicago natives were not happy with how the front office has been run in recent years. With that being said, the Bulls ownership has now recently started to listen to the fans. On April 8, 2020, The Bulls hired Denver Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas to be the new VP of basketball operations. He will replace Paxson who will now take an advisory role. This is a great hire for how well Karnisovas does through the draft.
This can be shown for what he did for the Nuggets during his time as GM. He built a potential title contender through the draft while in Denver and this will excite the fanbase. On April 13, 2020, the Chicago Bulls actually fired Gar Forman after 22 years with them. This now leaves an opening for the GM spot in the organization. They can fill it with someone within the Bulls, hire someone outside, or they can get someone who has worked with Karnisovas in the past.
In a way, this movement shows that words and opinions of the fanbase can have a lot of power. If done right, the organization and ownership will listen if the majority of the fans are unhappy with the job they’re doing. Even though the movement gave it what the Bulls fans want, we will have to see if it gives them the result they want. Karnisovas still has to know his way around the organization. He also needs to know how to address the problems around the team as well. But at the end of the day, this is a great hire for the Bulls on paper and the team is looking at a good future.
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