Bulls GM: MJ's legacy no obstacle

Updated: June 25, 2010, 2:48 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman is not worried that the shadow of Michael Jordan will scare off any free agents this summer. In fact, Forman believes the Bulls' legacy could act as a selling point.

"I think one of the things that makes the Bulls such a storied franchise is Michael and Scottie [Pippen] and the success that they had, and in my opinion, that bodes well for the Chicago Bulls because it's been done here before," Forman said Friday on "Mike & Mike In The Morning" on ESPN Radio. "We won multiple championships. We've had terrific players and a terrific brand that's known worldwide."

Forman was a major player Thursday during the NBA draft, but not because he selected Kevin Seraphin with the 17th pick. ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher reported Thursday afternoon that the Bulls had a deal in place to trade Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards. The Associated Press reported the Bulls would receive a future second-round pick.

Forman can't discuss the deal until July 8, when the Wizards will be able to absorb Hinrich's $9 million contract.

The Bulls are close to being able to sign two free agents to max contracts.

"It's been our plan for the last year, or year and a half, where we felt in order to improve our basketball team, we needed to create the flexibility," Forman said. "We've done that to put some pieces around Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, so that's what we wanted.

"We wanted to give ourselves options, and I think we've done that."

Forman wouldn't reveal whether he plans to get on a plane when the market opens July 1, or even whether the Bulls have a priority list. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are considered the top two targets.

"When July hits, there are so many scenarios and so many different things that can happen," Forman said. "Our job as a front office has been to spend time preparing for all the different things that can happen, not unlike the draft. To prepare for the draft, you have a lot of options in front of you and you have to study all those options and sometimes make quick decisions, so you have to spend time beforehand and take a look at all those things and be ready for anything that comes about.

"You can't have any contact until July 1, so obviously on July 1 we're going to be very active. There are different paths you can take, but on July 1, we'll get a feel for the landscape, and then make decisions based off that.

"We feel we have a bunch to sell, and it starts with the young nucleus of players we have, a world-class city, a brand known worldwide, the best fans in the NBA. And with this young core, we think there's a large window of opportunity to have success here in Chicago. "