Nick Friedell looks at each member of the Chicago Bulls roster and how they fit in for the future.
Gar Forman, general manager
Season recap: Forman was crushed by critics last summer for saying that the Bulls would be making "basketball decisions, not financial ones" in regards to the upcoming free agency process only to allow Omer Asik to go to the Houston Rockets by not matching the poison pill deal he was offered last July. The Bulls made an organizational decision to keep open potential flexibility in the future instead of bringing back the popular Bench Mob. Forman deserves credit for sticking to his guns and putting trust into the fact that Tom Thibodeau would form the Bulls into a respectable product in a season without Derrick Rose.
Season highlight: Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Brooklyn Nets might as well have been the Bulls' Super Bowl this season. The fact that they won despite playing without Kirk Hinrich (calf), Luol Deng (illness) and Rose only underscores the job that Forman did in putting together the roster with Executive VP John Paxson and the work that Thibodeau did on the bench. The fact that the Bulls won that game in large part due to bench stalwarts Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson as well as Joakim Noah, the man the Bulls invested $60 million into before last season, surely made Forman happy about his decisions in a season that many fans figured would be completely lost without Rose.
Season lowlight: The loss of Asik. While the Bulls' bench performed admirably this season, there's no question the loss of Asik hurt more than anything else. The fact that he ended up going to Houston without any compensation has to eat at Forman and the rest of the front office.
Final grades: Regular season: B Postseason: B
Notes: Forman and Paxson have done a good job over the past three years of identifying players that fit well into Thibodeau's system. Not any player can play for a demanding coach like Thibodeau. Forman and Paxson have done a good job filling up their roster with players who will embrace hard work and won't complain.
Quotes: "We're really, really excited about him," Forman said in April on ESPN Chicago's "Waddle and Silvy" of Bulls' draft pick Nikola Mirotic. "We built a relationship with him, we're in constant communication. John (Paxson) and I went up and saw him this fall when he played at Memphis and at Toronto in a couple NBA exhibitions, and we think the ceiling there is incredible.
"He's probably a four, but he's very, very skilled. He shoots it from 3, can handle it, good mobility. And he's a tough, tough kid."
What's next?: Forman has a tough job ahead of him in trying to recreate a bench for the second summer in a row while also deciding what to do with Luol Deng. The front office understands that it needs another star to pair alongside Rose but it will be tough for the Bulls to make such a move given their long-term cap issues.