Bulls GM defends loyalty to ex-players

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman emphasized that he wasn't addressing Dwyane Wade specifically, but Forman took issue with anyone who questions the Bulls' loyalty to former players.

Wade was quoted in the Chicago Tribune questioning the Bulls' loyalty because players like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are no longer associated with the organization. Wade told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that his quotes were "taken out of proportion," and that he wasn't taking a shot at the Bulls.

"Anyone who would question our loyalty is obviously misinformed," Forman told ESPNChicago.com. "I think it absolutely ignores our record, which speaks for itself.

"We have a number of ex-players that are -- and have been -- employed within our organization within a variety of capacities, ranging from the front office to the coaching staff, in our business office, as part of our broadcasting teams. We take great pride in not only how we treat our current players, but also in how we treat our former players."

John Paxson, Bill Cartwright, Randy Brown, Bill Wennington, Stacey King, Pete Myers and B.J. Armstrong are some of the former players who have been employed by the Bulls in roles with the front office, coaching or broadcasting.

Wade said he'll be talking with other top free agents, including LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson before the market opens on July 1.

"What I read and what I hear the players say is that winning is the most important thing," Forman said. "And we believe, like I've said before, with our talented young nucleus of players and the flexibility that we've created to add to that core that we're set up to have great success here for many years to come."