Bulls VP John Paxson says Fred Hoiberg will be back, Rondo too, but less clear on jimmy Butler
Cap flexibility. That and bringing back Fred Hoiberg. And Rajon Rondo.
Those were the big themes theme when Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman spoke to the media on Wednesday. The Bulls were 41-41, which is about what should have been expected from a roster that lacked shooting, but that felt like a disappointment in Chicago. This was a team that floundered around without an identity, and Paxson owned up to it, as Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com reported.
Bulls VP John Paxson: "We saw what you saw and a lot of our fans saw. Inconsistency in our play and searching for an identity."— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) May 3, 2017
Often a lack of identity is blamed on the coach, but Fred Hoiberg will be back.
Pax on Fred: "I view young coaches in this league like young players. Fred’s challenge this offseason is to find ways to be a better leader.— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) May 3, 2017
A lot of that identity issue should fall on Paxson and Forman, who gave Hoiberg a roster that didn’t fit the style he prefers to coach or match up with team star Jimmy Butler.
Also returning, Rajon Rondo (the Bulls have a team option).
But running this roster back, does that make sense? When asked about getting another star player to pair with Butler — and no, Dwyane Wade is not the answer there (he has a player option and $23 million reasons to pick it up) — the Bulls front office talked about cap flexibility.
Pax: "With Jimmy, all of us would love to get another superstar player but with the salaries we have now, it’s a difficult thing to manage."— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) May 3, 2017
Gar talking about the importance of cap flexibility down the line as opposed to spending now— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) May 3, 2017
So does that mean the Bulls will trade Butler? You’d have to read between the lines on that. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tried.
My takeaway: Bulls won't trade Butler just to say "let's rebuild" but absolutely would do full rebuild if right offer for Butler came.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 3, 2017
This is why any speculation on Butler makes little sense at this point. Draft lottery will bring big detail into picture.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 3, 2017
All-NBA teams will bring another detail into picture. If Butler makes one, have to factor in possible Designated Player Exception for him.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 3, 2017
There are a lot of questions the Bulls need to answer. Offering Jimmy Butler the same kind of designated player contract extension that Russell Westbrook is going to get something the Bulls want to do, because it would hurt that cap flexibility? If the Celtics land a top two pick (they have the right to swap with Brooklyn this year, the team with the best odds in the lottery) and offered it for Butler, could that be the basis of a deal that got done? (Would the Celtics do that is another question.)
What the Bulls need is a plan. They have talked about cap flexibility and the kind of team they want to build before, then they go out and pay big for Wade and Rondo and short-circuit all of it. GarPax hasn’t stuck to a plan. We’ll see if they have one this summer, what it is, and if they stick to it. But with the Bulls, it always feels like just about anything could happen.