Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Every NBA fan believes they are GM material. They know how to make trades. They know how to identify talent. They know how to fix a team's woes. Ironically, the only ones who don't know how to do it are those who are doing it.
Gar Forman and John Paxson share the GM responsibilities for the Chicago Bulls and are frequently referenced as a single unit "GarPax."
After gutting the team of all but Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson in order to entice LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade to come to the Windy City, they failed. "Plan B" worked out pretty well.
The Bulls assembled a deep group of role players and under the tutelage of new head coach Tom Thibodeau. The group went on to win the most games in the NBA's regular season the next two seasons.
However, they didn't win a title. In the first year they lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. In the second year they were dropped in the first round after Derrick Rose went down with his ACL tear.
Then, during this past offseason, they jettisoned a large part of that group, either for basketball reasons or salary reasons, depending on who you believe.
To some, the most infuriating thing was that the Bulls, after promising for months that they would, failed to match the offer on backup center Omer Asik. Some felt that the Bulls could have acquired Kirk Hinrich, rather than a trade exception for Kyle Korver, and thus prevented the need for the team to place themselves under the hard cap.
Still more felt like the Bulls should have just kept the team as it was.
Being fair, that's not so easy to do. The cost isn't just what the cost is this year, it's the extension of what goes over into next year or the year after. With the repeater tax, teams have to be wary about how much and how often they get into tax.
The specifics of the Asik contract, just for him, would have cost the Bulls $42 million in its third year. Granted, the NBA gets most of that, but it's still a lot of money to give to a backup center, and it would still be highly restrictive of any other moves.
The nice thing about GMing from Pretendsville is that you never have to live with the team you build or have to answer to an owner (or fans) about your decisions. Even better, fans never question you. You don't have to worry about whether your trade is realistic or even meets NBA rules. You can always be right because it's never actually done.
The Bulls do have some issues. They don't have a quality backup center right now. That's evident. And this bench group doesn't have the same defensive tenacity as the former "Bench Mob." That doesn't mean that something else could have realistically been done, or should have been done, though.
But GarPax will still be accountable for their decisions.
If the Bulls start collapsing, many will view it as a fault of management and point the finger of blame at "GarPax"