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This Bulls organization looking too soft to address its real issue

CLEVELAND — John Paxson chose his words carefully.

On Dec. 3, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations had just announced the removal of the latest coach to fail — bringing the total to five under this current front office — and though Paxson stressed how much he liked Fred Hoiberg personally, he had some obvious issues with him as a coach.

“We need to find a spirit to our group that’s been missing and missing for quite some time,’’ Paxson said. “You have to be able to get your identity across to your team, and we just felt that we’re not playing the style with the force that we want our group to play with.’’

Translation: This team is too soft.

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After a 10th consecutive loss Saturday, Zach LaVine did not choose his words carefully.

As he first told the Sun-Times on Wednesday, LaVine wants answers on the direction of the franchise he is committed to through the 2021-22 season, barring a trade.

“Something’s obviously wrong,’’ LaVine said after the loss to Miami. “We weren’t losing [by] double-digits earlier in the season. We might have been losing, [but] we didn’t even have a full roster. So I don’t know. We’re a better team now and we’re getting blown out. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.’’

Translation: This team is too soft.

Coaching changes, injury talk, Jabari Parker’s status, it’s really all smoke.

Yet, all footprints can be tracked to one office.

An office that is heavily guarded with soundproof walls and one very stubborn chairman standing out front, who has allowed loyalty to now turn into defiance.

If chairman Jerry Reinsdorf feels general manager Gar Forman is really doing a good job as the team’s main talent evaluator, where’s the proof?

There’s no hardware to back that up.

There’s not a single big-name free agent who has ever said, “Hey, I need to get to the Bulls and play for Forman — that guy is building something special.”

And maybe even more concerning, there’s no evidence Forman understands how one talented player can coexist with another talented player. It’s like watching a small child gathering shiny blocks, and not caring about their shape when it’s time to build with them.

Forman handpicked a coach in Hoiberg whose offense is predicated on outside shooting and never gave him an outside shooter.

And by the way, the term GarPax must stop. Forman and his minions are embedded so deeply throughout the organization that Paxson couldn’t exterminate them all even if he tried. The two are separate entities, with Paxson’s biggest fault being a team player and going out of his way to align himself in a united front with Forman.

So we can all keep debating Jim Boylen and his offense or Parker’s minutes, keep blinking through that smoke.

Want change? Someone with a pulse and some power at the Advocate Center must remove Forman from that post, call the Nets and beg their assistant GM — and former Duke Blue Devil — Trajan Langdon to move to Chicago for a better title, a more spacious office and fatter paycheck.

Will it happen?

This team is too soft . . . going all the way up.