GM Gar Forman reiterates that Bulls are ‘retooling,’ not rebuilding
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter January 11, 2014 11:20PM
Mike Dunleavy (17 points, six rebounds) works against Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson on Saturday. | AP
Updated: February 13, 2014 6:59AM
“Rebuild’’ seems to be a curse word these days around the United Center. That’s why the Bulls’ front office is quick to correct anyone who uses it in the wake of the Luol Deng trade.
Executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson did so Tuesday when meeting with the media, and general manager Gar Forman took his turn Saturday, speaking to the team’s website during a pregame interview.
“It’s always difficult,’’ Forman said of the decision to send Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “There’s a human element to any transition you make.
“I’ve heard people say it’s a rebuild. It’s not a rebuild. I consider it more of a retooling.’’
Forman also reiterated that while the move allowed the team to dip out of the luxury-tax threshold so it can avoid the repeater tax, the organization has plans to go back over that threshold once it believes the roster is championship-ready.
“By getting out of the tax this year, it will give us the ability to go back into the tax in future years when we feel we have a team that’s capable or continuing to build towards that championship,’’ Forman said.
No time wasted
With Jimmy Butler missing Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats because of a bruise on his left thigh, rookie Tony Snell started in his place. It also meant the debut for Cartier Martin, who was signed to a 10-day contract Friday. Martin came off the bench in the second quarter and scored a quick five points, including a three-pointer.
Martin said he had several choices on the table from NBA teams but thought he could best be used by the Bulls.
“Hard-nosed team,’’ Martin said. “I know coach Thibs [Tom Thibodeau] is very tough on guys here and these guys are a very good defensive team. But at the same time, they need to score the ball as well, so I feel like it’s a great fit for me.’’
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford not only worked as an assistant with Thibodeau in New York and Houston, he’s one of his good friends in the business.
While there remains growing speculation that Thibodeau has to be unhappy with the direction the Bulls have headed this season, according to Clifford, no one is better equipped to handle dealing with a short-handed roster than Thibodeau.
“To be honest, he’s had so many different experiences in the NBA, he probably deals with it as well as anyone would,’’ Clifford said.