John Paxson went on 670 The Score on Thursday for an interview with Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins. They discussed the Bulls’ ongoing rebuild, free agency and misinterpretations about the franchise’s plans moving forward. The interview got heated several different times, as Paxson opened up on this tough and trying season.
Among the many thing the Bulls President of Basketball Operations addressed was the common misconceptions about the team shared by fans and media alike. When Parkins and McNeil brought up the “near mutiny” from the Bulls players’ in early December, Paxson was quick to correct the pair, telling them that the reports stating that the players called the NBA Players Association on Jim Boylen’s perceived intense practice methods was simply not true.
“That’s a falsehood right there. They never contacted the union.” And he reiterated that league commissioner Adam Silver let him know that Bulls players had not contacted the union.
Paxson continued, “Little things take on a life of their own and they become facts, even when they’re not......if that’s hurting our perception well then so be it because we can’t do anything about it."
When asked to give examples of creative and outside-the-box ideas to attract elite talent to Chicago in the future, Paxson admitted that it was a tough question to answer, as the Bulls “are not singling out certain individuals”.
He doubled down on that statement, saying that the Bulls were going to continue to be realistic in what they can do. In the interview Paxson also made it clear that he considers some of the more extreme methods use by NBA franchises in courting free agent superstars is very close to the line as far as tampering goes.
McNeil and Parkins brought up specific examples such as Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer going to a game to watch Kawhi Leonard play even when the game doesn’t involve the Clippers, or the New York Knicks hiring Royal Ivey, a good friend of Kevin Durant’s who also played basketball at the University of Texas.
“When teams do things like that.....if you don’t consider that tampering, then.....I don’t know what is.”
When asked to address the thought from some Bulls fans that the front office values financial success over winning, Paxson had no response for the specific statement but outlined how the Bulls’ past success under this regime gives him confidence moving forward.
Paxson also said that every time he comes on radio shows, they usually turn into “interrogations, they’re not interviews.” This is not something he considers fair, as he stated he is probably “as direct and honest an executive as there is in the city.”
Despite the interview getting contentious at times, Paxson mostly defended the franchise and their direction, and heaped praise on Boylen and the organization as a whole whenever he could. He made it known that he is aware of the portion of the fanbase that wants he and longtime general manager Gar Forman gone, but continued to encourage fans to be patient with what could be a long rebuilding process.
“I’m well aware that there is a March 6 protest of me and Gar, those type of things.”
Paxson stated that “people can have their opinion, but there is a lot of misinformation out there.”
Despite much of Bulls Nation being in despair at the current state of the franchise, Paxson was confident that the Bulls will get back to being a winning franchise in the near future.
“I’m confident that we can do it again because we’ve done it before.”