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Source: Bulls executive John Paxson willing to step down from organization

A source told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that Paxson has let the Reinsdorfs know that if they and the new front-office regime want him out of the picture, he’s ready to leave.

Bulls vice president John Paxson is willing to take a new role — or even no role — with the organization.
Bulls vice president John Paxson is willing to take a new role — or even no role — with the organization.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson isn’t just trying to play the good soldier and say the right thing.

He isn’t wired that way.

A source told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that not only would Paxson consider stepping aside from his role and act more as an adviser to the Reinsdorfs when the front-office restructuring is finalized, but he would be willing to leave the organization entirely if ownership and the new-look executive group deemed it better for the rebuild to continue.

Paxson reportedly is ready for either scenario, wanting what’s best for the franchise. Not to be a martyr, just to say what he thinks everyone wants to hear.

Paxson’s patience has been pushed to the limit the last few seasons, especially when it comes to the perception of the job he has done by outsiders.

That was evident three years ago, when he made it a point in the organization and with beat writers that he had grown tired of the “Gar-Pax’’ umbrella he was lumped under with general manager Gar Forman, asking for Forman’s name and title to be separate from his.

He also has had several disputes with media members — some public and on sports talk shows, and some behind closed doors — especially when he felt he was being judged unfairly in his decision-making.

This season, though, Paxson has been as upbeat and friendly as he has been in the last decade, possibly knowing that a major change was coming and finding some sort of peace in that.

He became an executive in April 2003, making the jump from championship player to broadcaster, and then becoming the general manager. That likely has led to some serious sleepless nights.

Paxson deserves credit for getting the Bulls out of a really bad spot, adding star players such as Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, and then striking gold in the 2008 draft by landing Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick, despite a 1.7 percent probability.

Since Rose’s knees started betraying him, however, Paxson has been trying to capture what the Bulls once were but with no championship success. Lately, he has had more failure than success.

But with all of that, as well as Paxson willing to do whatever is asked of him, it comes down to what chairman Jerry Reinsdorf wants. Reinsdorf’s loyalty is unprecedented in professional sports.

If Reinsdorf wants Paxson to stay — in some capacity — no matter who is hired, the new brass will have to agree, no questions asked.