Most casual sports fans had little or no problem with Chicago Bulls GM Gar Forman being voted a co-Executive of the Year (with Pat Riley) by various coaches and league executives. Forman's Bulls, under the command of his coaching hire, Tom Thibodeau, reached 62 wins. They ended the season with the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and performed at a level higher than most fans and prognosticators predicted.
However, the results of the postseason proved what some more ardent Bulls fans already knew: Gar lost out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and anyone else able to take pressure off of the quickly improving Derrick Rose.
Here are the top three reasons why Gar Forman shouldn't have been voted Executive of the Year:
1. Gar couldn't sell Chicago to even one of the BIG THREE.
LeBron and Co. tried to sell the idea that D-Wade, Bosh and he had sealed the deal years ago to play together.
However, this isn't true. D-Wade himself has stated that he had no idea where he was going to play in this season, and he certainly wasn't confident that both Bosh and The King would be joining him in South Beach. Wade credits Pat Riley with making the dream a reality by selling the other two on his ability to surround them with enough talent to win. All three bought Riley's story so strongly that they all took less money to sign with the Heat.
Where was Gar? Watching the "Decision" like the rest of us, hoping that LeBron would be wooed by the LuvaBulls and Benny the Bull.
2. Gar's backup plan involved Carlos Boozer being the Carlos Boozer of 2006.
Following the signing of Carlos Boozer to a five-year, $80 million contract, Boozer did exactly what the 2011 version of CB does...he got injured. Not only injured—he "fell" over a sports bag in the main hallway of his home and hurt his wrist and missed the first 18 games of the season.
When he came back, he averaged a measly nine points and seven rebounds per game. In the playoffs, Boozer was non-existent. Even Bulls Hall of Famer (and resident blowhard) Scottie Pippen could tell that Boozer was a fraud:
“You can’t hide at this stage of the season," Pippen said. "At this point, you have to be able to play through everything because if you’re trying to hide a guy or a guy is not performing for you, it’s going to show offensively in the playoffs and it’s going to be magnified.
"We all know Carlos did not play at the level the team needed him to and that that hurt them more than anything because they couldn't rely on him.The flagrant foul, the pushing calls, the inability to finish strong around the basket. Now you’re a liability. We can’t hide you and now we have to take you out of the game.”
For once, I can't disagree with Michael Jordan's ball boy.
3. Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Keith Bogans (technically, reasons three, four and five).
The worst thing that a franchise can do is sign mediocre players, but this is exactly what the desperate, short-sighted Forman did by spending over $10 million for this group of "almost" role players. Maybe if you could combine the talents of these three players, you could have a decent sixth man off the bench.
However, none of these three is a starter. And none of them can provide the scoring punch that Rose is going to need going forward. Luol Deng is a good player. Carlos Boozer is a decent player. If either of these two players are asked to be your number two option for scoring, you will NEVER win a title.
Gar should have known this. He should have seen the big picture. Instead, he spent $25 million a year for a bunch of often injured, past their prime, losers.
John Paxson, strangely enough, also received votes for Executive of the Year. According to sources, Paxson simply gives input on Bulls' decisions, but has no real power. Too bad.
Even some of his colleagues could see that he has more skills than Gar. Too bad Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf can't see the same.