Summer League Chat with John Paxson

Summer League Chat with John Paxson
Jul 09, 2008, 09:24 pm
While at the Orlando Summer League, DraftExpress sat down with John Paxson, Vice President of Basketball Operations of the Chicago Bulls, to discuss the philosophies of building a team.

Doug Thonus: With the coaching staff this year you really went with experience with your assistants relative to what the organization has done in the recent past. Was this an organizational shift in thinking towards assistants or was it more in line with Vinny being a rookie head coach?

John Paxson: It was mostly in line with Vinny being a rookie head coach. We’re all very comfortable having Del and Bernie who've each coached 1000 games in this league as head coaches. Having those guys with Vinny is going to be real good. Bob Oceipka is a real detailed preparation guy, and we still have Pete on the staff. I'm really comfortable with this, but I also know it's going to be a work in progress. They're going to have to find a rhythm as a staff and that doesn't happen overnight. Fortunately we're going to have the months of July, August, and September to find roles. It’s really like putting players out there to find roles, but I'm very comfortable having Del and Bernie. Their experience is unmatched and we need that.

Doug Thonus: Right now, the Bulls have tremendous depth. You have maybe 10 players who could play 30 minutes a night. How do you best deal with that depth? Do you try to do a two for one trade to trim the roster down or do you hope some of your players sacrifice and play fewer minutes?

John Paxson: We need to get certainty with Luol Deng and Ben Gordon's contracts first then we can look at what to do after that. That's really the key for us. With that uncertainty it's difficult for us to make other moves. Once we get those things done we can look at the roster. I think we'd love to be able to package players to get a really talented guy we can count on every night and we'll look at that, but when there's uncertainty like we have you have to be careful.

Doug Thonus: Of course it's hard to do since everyone wants the star player as well.

John Paxson: Exactly, exactly.

Doug Thonus: When you think about creating a championship window, you look at Derrick Rose who's 19 and going to hopefully become a star in a few years, do you look at ages of players to align them with Rose's age? Would you look differently at acquiring someone who's maybe 29 with younger talent to win now?

John Paxson: Any team would love to acquire a guy in his prime who is a terrific player. We're really very young and that's not really the ideal situation to win in this league. You saw with Boston they acquired two veteran all-star caliber players to go with Pierce and won the championship this year. So being young isn't always the ideal thing, but that's where we are right now. Hopefully we can take some of these guys and acquire a guy we really like, but that's the situation we're in right now.

Doug Thonus: How do you approach the 2010 free agency year given that it's the best year for free agents in the dawn of restricted free agency?

John Paxson: In an ideal world, you would like to be a really good team and clear cap space at the same time. I do feel if we choose to go that direction that we'd have the opportunity to do it. At that time Larry Hughes deal comes off for us, and we have some pieces we could move into expiring deals if we chose to. But that's not on our mind right now, I know a lot of teams are in that situation, but you do a disservice to everybody if that's your stated goal because it doesn't always work out. You may not be able to get one of those guys who's a top player in the league.

Doug Thonus: Thank you for your time John.

John Paxson: No problem.

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