Chicago Sun-Times

BULLS GM JOHN PAXSON WEIGHS IN ON TEAM

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I spoke with GM John Paxson today on The Mully and Hanley Show on WSCR. Pax addressed a number of topics through the interview including the team's injuries, lineup, playoff prospects and trade possibilities.

Pax said Thabo Sefolsoha's recent play will keep him in the starting five even after the team gets guards Kirk Hinrich (bruised rib), Ben Gordon (sprained right wrist), and Chris Duhon (bruised knee) completely healthy:

``If we can ever get healthy, I honestly don't see Thabo leaving the starting lineup. He gives us a dimension with his length and size we haven't had. He's got a future in this league. He still has to address obvious areas; his shot has not been consistent. Though with playing time, he's shooting it more confidently. He has to play little more under control. But those things come with experience.''

Paxson on the injuries of Gordon and Luol Deng (Achilles tendonitis) and when they will be back:

``I can't answer for them. What I've learned in my 25 years since I started playing in the league is that you have to listen to players and believe what they tell you about their bodies and their injuries. . . .You can't tell a player to play. We do all the medical stuff. . .everything we can do. At the end of the day, we really have no power to tell a player that you have to go out on the floor. Obviously, given the fact that Ben and Luol didn't get their [contract] extensions done, and the fact that we're not playing well this year, obviously fans want to know what the deal is. In the case of Luol, he had swelling in his Achilles. We at the position with him, with the All-Star break coming up next week, that rest was the big thing to get the swelling out and let the tendon heal. He's going to get a repeat MRI when we get back from this trip. But with just two home games before the break, rest was the key. It makes no sense to bring him back. We feel we're giving him the appropriate time off of it. Hopefully, that will allow him to play the last 30 games of the year. Again, there's not guarantee there.

``We have to get healthy first. My target date is right after the All-Star break (Feb. 15-17). I hope that with 30 games left we will have Gordon back, Deng back. My understanding is Ben Gordon is day to day. I'm going to try and touch base with him today and talk to him about what he's thinking.''

On making the playoffs:
``With 30 games left, you always owe it to your fans and yourself to compete and play as hard as you can. I'm the most disappointed guy in the world right now. Going into the season, obviously there were huge expectations--and I don't know what that meant--but I certainly felt given another year of maturity of our guys and adding Joe Smith and Joakim Noah that we were deeper and more talented. I honestly believed that. But something happened at the beginning of the year--whether it was those contracts or whatever--the vibe and mindset have not been the same. I think we can develop our young guys--Thabo's going to play minutes, Tyrus [Thomas] is going to play minutes--but I think we can also satisfy trying to get into the playoffs. You've got to try and win. I will never feel otherwise.''

Pax on trade possibilities before the league's Feb. 21 deadline:

``We're not dealing from a great position right now. The big contracts that we have outside of Ben Wallace are [Andres] Nocioni and Kirk Hinrich. And both of those guys are base year players, which they're a little more difficult to move unless you build up a deal that's really, really big. So not to say that we can't do anything, but those inhibit you a little bit in the way you go about your business.
``So I think what we continue to toss around is: Can we make a deal that significantly improves us? If not, we may have to weight until the summer to address a lot of these concerns, just given the contract status. I know it's difficult for fans and for all of us in the organization to have this type of year after the year we had last year, but we can't afford to do something just for the sake of doing it. We won't operate that way. But if we feel the direction moving forward dictates we make a move, then we obviously will.''

Paxson on his trade talks with Memphis for Pau Gasol:

``I know that a lot gets put out there. Last year we were in a position when we were discussing a Gasol deal, we had an expiring contract with P.J. [Brown], a big one much like Kwame Brown. But they had a different mindset then; their ownership had not decided that they wanted to make a money deal at that point. So, in some ways, our timing was not right with the contracts we had. Look, fans don't want to hear that stuff. They want to see you do something and get better. But I don't think any fan would want us to move a player if we didn't get something back that made a lot of sense. I think right now what a lot of teams are doing is they're looking at our roster and they're saying to themselves: [the Bulls] have had a bad year, maybe they're down on their guys, maybe we can sneak in and get something that will help us but not necessarily help the Bulls.

``So there's not an easy answer here. But I'm on the phone a lot with people and doing a lot of talking trying to get something done. It is frustrating when you feel like you can't do something to improve the organization. We also can't go out there and make a poor deal that doesn't help you in any way, shape, or form.''

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10 Comments

I understand not doing something for the sake of doing it, but come on! The team is tanking and Pax is standing by the ship and not even throwing a life vest to save the fans. I think Jerry is holding back Pax from doing what he wants to do because he's cheap like Mariotti pointed out yesterday. I'm tired of watching this team play hard one night and flop the next only to play hard again and then come up 3 points short like last night against the blazers. This is completely unacceptable. I just hope Pax knows that, which I think he does, but like Ben Wallace said "Small things to a big giant" meaning, we know the fans are [ticked] but, oh well...

Pax is correct in that the fans don't care why a deal wasn't made. I don't care why a deal wasn't made. All I see is that Phoenix and Los Angeles and the Bulls are only concerned about net profit. Jerry R. has constantly kept a tight purse string with the Sox. The fact he won a World Series was just gravy. What really matter was that the stands were filling up. He didn't get rid of Krause until the fans quit coming. Hopefully Pax will get another chance to gm to show what he can really do.

As dissapointed and mad as i've been in regards to everything about this season, especially the firing of Scott Skiles, i'd be willing to cut Paxson some slack for another year just as long as he doesn't give in to those 2 money grubbing, injury claiming, i'm ready for them to move on guys Deng and Gordon. To refuse 10 mil. a year plus, for no more than those two have produced makes me half sick. Then to ride the injury bug knowing full well that they'll try and claim they weren't responsible for the cruddy season as they hunt free agent money even makes me sicker. So, i truly hope Pax doesn't offer more than he did last season and they can go elsewhere. I really could care less about getting anything in return for them, i'd just love to see them both move on.

Another thing is useless Ben Wallace. Obviously Paxson blew it bigtime with that signing and since it's also obvious there's absolutely no GM in BB that would be dumb enough to take him off of the Bulls hands, hopefully they'll just bite the bullit and either sit him or release him and give the young guys the chance to improve. Playing Wallace just because they're afraid not to is totally pointless. The guy provides nothing period, and i say enough already with him.

Otherwise, have a nice day Paxson.

Here's my comment to paxson on the Gasol deal.
HOGWASH!

Come on. How can you say you didn't have the right pieces to do a salary dump deal? How do you think the Lakers did it? They used McKie (who is retired) and signed him to a couple mil and then packaged him in the deal to make the salaries work.

We had the same type of player and everybody knows it. The bulls could have easily signed PJ Brown to a 7 or 8 mil contract and then included him in the trade. Then the Grizzlies could have bought him out for 4 or 5 mil and everything would have worked out just fine.

The bulls could have had gasol. Memphis could have had a 7 or 8 mil contract that expired at the end of this year and PJ brown could have made a few extra mil for just signing a deal to facilitate a trade.

Lets face it. The bulls are the only cheap team in the nba that doesn't know how to use expiring contracts in their deals. Look at the tim thomas deal. They just let Khyrapa go 3 weeks before the deadline. What if Khyrapa's expiring contract would have made a difference in completing a trade this year or not?

Paxson is useless. He simply doesn't know how to make deals in this league. And part of that comes from Reinsdorf being too cheap and too shortsighted to put up some money. A little creativity and Gasol would be on the bulls.

The Grizzlies owner even came out and said that "a team" was too afraid of the luxury tax to make the deal and thats why memphis traded gasol to the lakers. The lakers were willing to do it and now everyone's complaining that the lakers got too good a deal.

Wake up paxson and reinsdorf. The bulls could have gotten "too good a deal" too if you hadn't been so completely inept at your job.


When the Bulls were in a great position to deal they did nothing...so save the lip-service Paxson, nobody is interested...

Paxson's inability to properly evaluate talent is the biggest problem.

The highly over rated Capt (Klank) Hinrich circle dribbling clock eater is the problem! He is a bench player not a starter! He is too slow, he is not a point guard and a he is career inconsistent shooter! Look at his stats, Klank slows the attack down to a crawl, he won't drive the lane, The competition has his number! Nocioni is a nice player off the bench but he is also too slow! Pax gave them big contracts, why????

First Round No shot Noah is a joke, he is a wasted 1st round pick! You can get rebounders with absolutely no shooting ability with lower picks. Did anyone know that Wallace can't even lay up or dunk the ball with consistency! The attack is crippled with these two guys!

Trading Aldridge for the high potential of Tyrus Thomas is just as a big of a mistake as adding Wallace to the Bulls.

What did you expect from this trainee Paxson!

Even with his bad luck, Paxson has made the correct draft picks (except maybe B. Roy), and free agent signings. However, Paxson has failed to hold on to valuable trade commodities (T. Chandler, Tim Thomas, J.R. Smith) that could have netted Garnett and/or P. Gasol.

Of course the Bulls would have taken a salary cap hit for one season (at the most) but that would've been a wise investment after T. Chandler's trade value would've naturally skyrocketed - after he learned to play with heart under Ben Wallace's tutelage. Tim Thomas and J.R. Smith would've proved (as they are currently doing) that they belong in the league and.

Apparently Paxson has leaned this lesson and will never again simply give away decent NBA players. However, releasing Khryapa is a good move because after two seasons of being buried on an underachiving Bulls bench it would take a six man of the year performance to remove the stigma. And the opportunity/time just isn't there.

Horribly weak interview.

I am a huge and longtime Bulls fan and think a lot of Paxson but his mistakes over the past year or so have crushed this team. His inability to make trades AND not develop high draft picks while playing Ben Wallace 40 minutes a game (and continuing to admit we need a REAL Shooting guard and post scorer and not doing anything about it) have driven me to the point where I won't watch this pitiful team anymore. I am one who toughed out the Rusty LaRue/Dickey Simpkins years and I won't watch any more of this garbage.

Make a move by the deadline Paxson, not excuses, or you ought to be fired.

DA BULLS WILL NOT TURN IT AROUND WITH PAX DA TRUTH....

Paxon is an idiot, plain and simple. I thought BJ Armstrong was in line to replace Krause, where did this bum come from? Thabo shouldn't even be in the league, as well as Hinrich and Noah. All three of these stooges were first rounders. And to compound matters, Pax gave Heimlich maneuver a contract that's way too much for him, and then turns around and offers the same deal to Gordon and Deng. This smells like rascism. No wonder they both quit on the team! Fire Paxon now please.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Hanley published on February 7, 2008 2:42 PM.

BIG BEN TO BIG APPLE? is the next entry in this blog.

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