Chicago Bulls about to extend Jim Boylen, but why?

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The hits just keep on coming from the Chicago Bulls management team.

The season may be over, but the Chicago Bulls — and in particular John Paxson and Gar Forman — are still finding ways to infuriate their fans.

Yesterday didn’t start out all that bad. In fact, the fans received some good news when it was announced that Lauri Markkanen was cleared to resume full basketball activities. It was good news that he’s healthy again, but the timing of the announcement (after the final game of the season) led some to joke about whether the Bulls were finally getting the hang of this whole tanking thing.

Then BAM! The news that would send shivers down the spines and vomit out the mouths of Bulls Nation started to leak out.

Jim Boylen and the team were extremely close on a three-year extension. In fact, judging from some reports, it sounds like a foregone conclusion.

But why? Remember, it was back in January when the Bulls gave Boylen a raise, giving a strong indication that he would be back for next season at the very least. In the end, however, it was no big deal. The raise was modest and would not seem to have been enough to dissuade the Bulls from terminating his deal if the right coach became available, even for the penny-pinching Jerry Reinsdorf.

The reality is Boylen went 17-41 last season and did little to demonstrate he’s the right guy for the future, let alone warrant a three-year extension. The move makes little sense.

First, it’s not as if any other team was knocking down the door looking to poach Boylen. So it’s not as if they need to lock him up long-term to prevent him from leaving.

Second, doesn’t it make sense to at least do your due diligence as a front office and see what names might become available this offseason? For starters, Dave Joerger was just fired by the Sacramento Kings.

More moves may be made in the coming days and weeks, so why not just let the landscape develop? If no one comes available, the Bulls could ride out next year with Boylen and continue the evaluation of whether he deserves a long term extension.

Well, the answer lies in the inflexible, recalcitrant, stubborn mule of a vice president named John Paxson. A common characteristic among great leaders is their ability to adapt to change. Those that fail to adapt and cling to the ways of the past are left there — in the past.

Paxson falls into that latter bucket of clinging to the past, thinking this is still the NBA of the 1990s. It ain’t Despite how badly he wishes it were true, this is a new era of the NBA. Right or wrong (cause frankly it doesn’t matter) modern players are different in many ways from their predecessors.

However, Paxson has failed to recognize, accept and adapt to that new reality. Instead, he continues to try to jam a square peg into a round hole. He tries to impose his values and his brand of basketball on the players, even though the game has evolved. Is it any wonder why he continues to fail miserably?

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Perhaps this entire leadership team will be put out of its collective misery soon — let’s just hope it doesn’t take the full three years.