Bulls GM Gar Forman after Inking Derrick Rose to 5-Year Contract Extension: “I don’t want to put a ceiling on what the team can become.”December 22, 2011 – 7:15 am by Steven Cuce
Bulls GM Gar Forman has been hard at work lately. First he signed Richard Hamilton to a three-year, $15 million deal. Forman’s next move? He made sure to give Derrick Rose the kind of deal he couldn’t refuse. Rose signed a five-year contract extension worth more than $94 million.
The Bulls have boosted a backcourt that already has the the league’s MVP in Derrick Rose and now Richard Hamilton gives Chicago a proven player that’s another scoring option. Tom Thibodeau may have the lineup that will bring the Bulls back to their first championship since the Michael Jordan era. Gar Forman doesn’t want to get too ahead of himself with the potential NBA championship talk just yet.
Gar Forman joined ESPN Radio Chicago with Waddle & Silvy to discuss the signing of Richard Hamilton, locking up Derrick Rose on a 5-year contract extension, the Chicago Bulls approach to a shorter schedule with more games in a closer period of time, and the Chicago Bulls season being championship or bust this year.
What was the thought process in signing Richard Hamilton?
“Well I think Richard is going to be a good one for us. I just think he really fits the personality of this team as far as being a professional and his work ethic. Our feeling was that his game would really fit in with the other guys on the team. Just his ability to knock down shots. His ability to change hands and his movement offensively the way he moves without the ball. I think he will create space for Derrick Rose and Luol Deng and some of our perimeter guys. He’s only been here for less than a week, but he seems to really fit in with our group both on-and-off the floor.”
Let’s get to the Derrick Rose deal. Did you know Derrick Rose was going to be your franchise player when you took him number one overall and did you think he would be this good now?
“Well we knew right away that he would be our guy. In fact as we went into that process I remember John [Paxson] and myself and our staff met the next morning and we had done a lot of work throughout the year. It was unanimous that Derrick Rose would be the guy, so we decided how to approach it if we were really being objective and doing our job over that six week period, was look for reasons that we would maybe take Derrick and reasons we could take someone else. We did that and continued to do our work and then we got back together before the draft nothing changed. Did we think he would be this special of a player? I think we all thought he had a chance to be. I think it’s become a little quicker then anybody had expected. The thing about Derrick? Obviously he’s got great, great talent, but it’s the intangibles. It’s the other things that have enabled him to have such success at such an early age. The scary thing to me is with his work ethic and his desire – I don’t think he has reached his ceiling yet and I do believe whatever his ceiling is that he will eventually reach it, so that is exciting for us and for Bulls fans all throughout Chicago.”
When you looked at the 66-game schedule did you, John Paxson and Tom Thibodeau do anything a little differently researching how you would approach the shorter schedule, but more games in a closer period of time?
“We did. One of the – We talked to a number of people that had gone through it in the past and then to some people and some health professionals as far as what we need to do as far as getting enough rest and that type of thing. Tom Thibodeau has got a lot of strengths as a coach. One of his greatest strengths is he does a terrific job monitoring our team and knowing when to push and when to back off. I think that will be a real plus for us this year. When we hit the practice floor we are going 100%. There’s a lot of intensity, but I think this year you’ll probably see more situations whether it is just watching our films and getting rest, especially when we are going through stretches like in January like we got a stretch where we play 9 games in 12 nights. One of the keys to the season is going to be health and knock on wood hopefully we stay healthy, but we do feel like we have a pretty deep team, which should be to our advantage.
Can you tell us today is it championship or bust for you guys?
“Well I think I would stay the same as I have said before I don’t want to put a ceiling on what the team can become, but it is a new team, a new season and a new dynamic. Obviously our goals are very high, but one of the messages and Tom [Thibodeau] created a culture on the practice floor: Let’s take it one day at a time and try to get that reach in every day. I think that’s how guys approach it and I think it is the right way to approach it. I wouldn’t put a ceiling on where I think we can get, but hopefully we will continue to improve and stay healthy throughout the year.”