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John Paxson opens up on Bulls' future on 670 The Score

John Paxson opens up on Bulls' future on 670 The Score

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.”

Breaking down new details of the NBA’s plan to resume 2019-20 season

Breaking down new details of the NBA’s plan to resume 2019-20 season

In advance of a Board of Governors call Thursday that is reportedly expected to culminate in owners approving a final plan for resuming the 2019-20 season, details on the league’s proposed regular season resolution and play-in tournament have emerged.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 22 teams will be invited to Orlando, Fla. to complete the 2019-20 season. Target date of July 31 to resume, with a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals falling on Oct. 12 (via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski)

  • Those 22 teams will be the current 16 playoff teams, plus all non-playoff teams within six games of their conference’s eighth seed — i.e. the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards (via Wojnarowski)

  • Each of the 22 teams invited will play out eight regular season games for seeding purposes (via Wojnarowski)

  • At the end of those games, if the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed is automatically awarded a playoff spot (via The Athletic’s Shams Charania)

  • If the ninth seed is within four games of the eighth seed, the two teams will play out a mini play-in tournament for the eighth seed. Single-elimination for the ninth seed, double-elimination for the eighth seed (via Charania)

Note: The Blazers (No. 9), Pelicans (No. 10) and Kings (No. 11) are 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the West’s eighth seed. The Spurs (No. 12) are four games back in the West, the Suns (No. 13) are six games back. The Wizards (No. 9) are 5.5 games back of the Magic in the East. No alterations to tiebreaker rules has been reported.

And yes, that all adds up to no more Bulls games in the 2019-20 calendar. 

The league had reportedly previously discussed a litany of alternative formats, including all 30 teams returning to resolve the regular season. Sources told NBC Sports Chicago that the Bulls were open to returning if the league determined that a 30-team scenario was most beneficial, but emphasized safety concerns for the entire traveling party as their main priority.

Still, the team has opened the Advocate Center for voluntary, socially distanced workouts with coaches. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley will soon be headed to Chicago. Even if the Bulls don’t play basketball again this season, the evaluation process (and the changes that come with that) will continue.

Wojnarowski also reported that the draft and free agency are expected to occur sequentially in October. Though the 2020-21 season beginning on Christmas Day has been widely reported and speculated, two months and change is an incredibly tight window to squeeze the draft, free agency, summer league, training camps and a preseason — normally, roughly four months is allotted for the offseason, which includes a decompressatory month of August.

Regardless of those specifics, once again, the bounce of the lottery ball will be one to watch for Bulls fans.

RELATED: Why the Bulls are better off not being invited to the NBA bubble

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr joined Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin, Demario Davis and Andrew McCutchen to co-author an op-ed offering concrete solutions to address some of the problems raised by protesters across the country.

To achieve a more equitable justice system for people of color, the op-ed says police need to be held accountable for their actions.

“When these killings occur, we tweet, we write letters, we make videos demanding accountability,” Kerr et al. said. “We protest and we vow to change hearts and minds so that our young men can run through the streets without fear.

“And soon after, we see another officer kill a black person, usually a man, and usually without consequence. Where, we wonder, is the ‘accountability’ allegedly so important when it comes to arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating young people of color?”

The problem, Kerr et al. say, is that police supervisors simply don’t have the power to take away a bad officer’s badge.

“Among the greatest obstacles to cleaning up our police departments are police union contracts, which hamstring officials’ ability to fire officers who engage in bad and even deadly behavior,” Kerr et al. said. “Those contracts, nearly always negotiated behind closed doors, have clauses that determine how misbehavior may be disciplined. Many contracts prevent departments from investigating reports made by anonymous civilians. They allow officers accused of serious misconduct to review the complaint and the evidence before making statements to investigators, ensuring that they can craft their story to best explain whatever the evidence will show...

“In the rare case that a department pursues disciplinary action, many contracts require arbitration, which almost always results in reduced sanctions. In a survey of data compiled from 37 police departments in 2017, The Washington Post found that of 1,881 officers fired since 2006, 451 appealed and received their jobs back — nearly 25%.”

RELATED: Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

The op-ed says these contracts are renegotiated every few years, so if you’d like them to change it’s not hopeless.

“In Philadelphia, for example, the mayor renegotiates the police union contract next year. In Minneapolis, it is renegotiated every three years and is in negotiations now. We must demand that our elected officials remove terms explicitly designed to protect officers from investigation and discipline if we are going to have accountability and safety.”

The second suggestion the op-ed makes is doing away with “qualified immunity” for cops, which protects them “from legal liability for even the most outrageous conduct,” unless a legal precedent has been set with “basically identical facts.”

They elaborate by saying “qualified immunity” can be used to protect cops from wide-ranging accusations.

“One court, for example, found an officer had qualified immunity after he let his dog maul a homeless man,” Kerr et al. said. “In another case, officers who tried to steal $225,000 while on the job received immunity.”

Again, the heart of the matter for Kerr, Popovich, Boldin, Davis and McCutchen is accountability.

“Citizens face consequences for breaking the law and harming others; our government should make sure officers are no different.”

RELATED: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts calls black leaders 'you people,' apologizes

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