Rozner: Potential there for Collins to help Bulls

Posted9/26/2017 1:00 AM
  • Doug Collins could serve as a sounding board and confidant to help Bulls vice president John Paxson with critical decisions.

    Doug Collins could serve as a sounding board and confidant to help Bulls vice president John Paxson with critical decisions. Associated Press/2013 file

It's not unusual for a Bulls news conference to make you laugh -- or cry, depending on your perspective.

And laughter was probably the reaction of most after listening to John Paxson discuss Doug Collins' role with the organization after his hiring a few days ago.

There was much speculation about just what Collins would do when the news release was issued.

Would he take on a role as basketball president overseeing all things Bulls, maybe even with final say in trades and drafts?

"He won't be a decision-maker," said Paxson, before he introduced Collins.

So he's a coach-in-waiting if Fred Hoiberg continues to struggle?

"Doug will not be coaching," said Paxson.

Will he work with the players on the court?

"No, we have a coaching staff in place," said Paxson.

As well liked as Collins is, maybe he'll take some of these news conferences and better explain the direction of the franchise. The Bulls have really butchered some of these the last couple of years.

Could he do that?

"He won't be a spokesman for the organization," said Paxson.

OK, so what's different now about the Bulls?

"None of the roles have changed," said Paxson. "Gar Forman and I continue to be at the forefront of our organization."

So Collins will do what, exactly?

"I'd call him an internal adviser," said Paxson. "We expect him to look at things and make suggestions."

That's a bit vague.

"He is well-versed in so many aspects of professional basketball, all aspects of it," Paxson said. "His wealth of knowledge and wisdom will be a huge asset for us.

"What a great resource for our entire organization to have, to pick his brain. My hope is that players will sit down with him and talk to him, as well as the coaches, myself and Gar.

"It has all the potential to be a great thing for the organization."

All merriment aside, it does have a chance to be very good if certain people within the organization are not threatened by Collins' presence, those who don't think Collins wants their jobs.

There are already enough issues within that group that another voice won't help if everyone doesn't keep an open mind.

Paxson, specifically, is not one of the paranoid types. He will use Collins as a sounding board and it will benefit Paxson to have a friend nearby with an encyclopedic knowledge of the NBA, from the janitors all the way up to the owners.

Collins has seen just about everything there is to see in the NBA and he might be able to head off trouble before it happens, direct Paxson away from bad decisions and perhaps even scout a player Paxson needs him to see.

Another voice, especially one with so much experience, can't be a bad thing for the Bulls, provided his advice is taken in the spirit in which it's intended.

Paxson could use such a confidant in what has been such a dysfunctional operation.

Hoiberg could as well. Collins has coached through enough rebuilds to know what works and what doesn't, to know who can play and who can't, to feel the good and the bad before they occur.

"A large part of this is the fact that we did make a decision on direction," said Paxson of the Bulls finally pulling the trigger on a rebuild. "We're going to have some big decisions to make going forward, so this is a great resource for us.

"We kept asking ourselves, 'Why wouldn't we do this?' Everything about this is right."

There's no downside, other than some staffers possibly feeling uncomfortable about Collins having a role. That's their problem, not his.

As for upside, maybe it will be insignificant, but the potential is there for all that Paxson said it could be.

And as my grandmother used to say, "What can it hurt?"

• Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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