Gar-Pax make it sound like very little will change for Bulls
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Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg will be back.
No surprise there.
John Paxson is still vice president of basketball operations, and Gar Forman is still general manager.
There’s no change of power on the horizon.
And as Paxson and Forman pointed out in their end-of-season address, don’t expect much change this offseason. That’s the predicament the front office finds itself in with the current roster.
In the end, it was 40-plus minutes of a lot of talk with little substance.
Paxson did divulge in some detail that he’d love to build a championship-caliber team around Jimmy Butler by adding another superstar, but it’s just not a realistic option.
So when Paxson meets with guard Dwyane Wade and Butler separately in the next month, he’ll reiterate that the plan remains being competitive while developing youth.
“Like I said, Dwyane has a [$23.8 million player] option, and we’re going to sit down with him and talk to him about all of this, as well,’’ Paxson said. “The thing with Jimmy is, all of us would love to get another superstar player to go along with him, but with the situation we’re in with the salaries we have, that’s a difficult thing for us to manage.’’
Paxson confirmed that he and Butler will meet to discuss the direction of the team. The Sun-Times reported that they’ve already established a time frame to talk, and the front office is committed to repairing the relationship.
Butler has been the subject of trade rumors for almost two years and privately has expressed anger over the front office’s lack of commitment to him. He thinks Paxson and Forman have downplayed his importance.
He’s ready to tell them to go ahead and trade him this summer if they don’t believe he’s a significant piece moving forward. His first choice is to stay in Chicago, but not to stay in the trade-rumor mill.
At least Paxson started taking steps Wednesday to mend fences, even if they were baby steps.
“I respect Jimmy Butler’s professionalism and how he goes about his job,’’ Paxson said. “I think the one thing we will do is continue to communicate with him. Like I said earlier, we’re going to sit down and talk to him. We can say anything to him; he can say anything to us. He can ask any questions he wants, and we’ll be honest with him. Look, that’s the responsibility we have. He’s our best player.’’
The big winner was point guard Rajon Rondo, who will make $13.4 million next season, unless the Bulls buy him out for $3 million. They appear set on the first option.
“As we get younger, it’s still important to have quality veterans around your young players,’’ Paxson said. “To a man, our young people loved Rajon. He was great in the locker room. He was great off the court with these guys.’’
Paxson also said they want to retain forward Nikola Mirotic, but the market will determine the restricted free agent’s future.
Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.