Angry rant about John Paxson/Bulls management

Ever since I found out about the Gasol trade this afternoon I’ve become more and more pissed off. John Paxson pulled the franchise out of futility and made them fun and respectable again. However, not a single move he’s made since the 2004 draft has worked out with the possible exception of re-signing Nocioni this past summer. As much credit as he deserves for turning the worst team in the league into a team that won 138 games over the three previous seasons, his more recent ineptitude has become completely unacceptable.

I’ll give Paxson a pass on signing Ben Wallace because nobody could have guessed how quickly Wallace would give up after receiving his final big payday. Ben was coming off of his 4th Defensive Player of the Year Award in 5 seasons and was known for his effort. If the Bulls needed anything at that point it was a veteran.

Trading Tyson Chandler was acceptable too because it became clear that while Tyson was skilled and athletically gifted, Skiles wasn’t going to accept him or let him be. It’s unlikely Chanlder would have turned into the quality player he is today if he stayed with the Bulls. HOWEVER, wasting what he got in return for Chandler by dumping J.R. Smith and letting P.J. Brown’s contract expire was as unacceptable as missing on Garnett, Gasol and Randolph.

The Eddy Curry trade was a disaster and although I’ve been guaranteed by multiple Bulls reporters that it isn’t true, I’m still convinced Paxson used Curry’s refusal to take a DNA test as a way to get rid of one of the last Jerry Kraus headband-wearing players without having to take blame from the fans. Eddy had a heart condition and Paxson claimed he wasn’t going to give him a guaranteed contract until he had a DNA test. The thing is that multiple doctors cleared Curry to play and everyone knew the players’ association would never have allowed him to set a precadent by being the first player to take a DNA test for his team. Paxson only required it because he knew it would never happen.

At the time of the Curry trade it looked like the Bulls might have done well. Two first round picks from the woeful Knicks sounded, and was, pretty good. The problem was Paxson blew one of them and came up with a weak draft year on the second. I like Tyrus Thomas coming out of LSU that year, but I like Brandon Roy a lot more and LaMarcus Aldridge a bit more. I know it sounds like 20/20 hindsight, but I thought at the time that the talent level seemed similar for all three players and the two Paxson didn’t pick fit the Bulls needs and character type much more than Thomas. They needed a low post scorer and an athletic, big 2 guard. Aldridge was only slightly higher on my list than Thomas because he wasn’t a clear low post player, but then Thomas was a 3. Roy was my first pick because he was the guard we clearly needed and, fitting Paxson’s somewhat irrational obsession, was a key player on a team that went deep in the tournament. But Paxson picked the wrong guy.

Joakim Noah looks like a keeper and there wasn’t a better player available, but he’s still going to be nothing more than an effort player with good defense and rebounding. I’m high on Noah, but he and Thomas don’t replace that hard to find low post game Paxson gave up with Curry.

Then finally a chance arises to pluck a star low post player for next to nothing and where’s Pax? The Bulls had more young talent than the Lakers and the between Duhon’s deal ending this year and Ben Gordon becoming a restricted free agent, they had the cap flexibility to offer as well. The Bulls are young enough that they have no need for an ’08 or and ’10 first round pick. Yet nothing happens? And now there’s nobody else available except maybe Jermain O’Neal who’ll make almost $10 million a year more than Gasol and is perpetually injured.

Enough is enough. It was time for new blood on the coaching side of things and this proves it’s time for new blood at the top.

2 Responses to “Angry rant about John Paxson/Bulls management”

  1. February 2, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    The reason why the Bulls didn’t land Gasol is because they didn’t have the expiring contract(s). I like your point about Wallace giving up–who’d a thought he would call it quits after playing so hard to define his career? If anything, this is probably the main reason why the Bulls are struggling this year.

    Go Pistons!

  2. 2 312chill
    February 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Duhon’s contract is up at the end of the season. Gordon will be a restricted free agent but the Grizzlies could renounce their rights to him the same way the Magic did with Darko last year. Between those two the Grizzlies would free up 8 million (less than 1 million less than they’ll get when kwame’s contract expires). On top of that either Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah would have much more potential than Crittenton and Memphis is already log jammed at PG without Crittenton. Noah or Thomas would replace Gasol at PF or C. There’s no way Memphis would take the lakers offer or my bulls offer. Paxson needs to be fired.

    I also agree that Ben Wallace is hurting the bulls more than anybody. Young players look at him playing like crap and earning 16 million a year and they think they don’t have to try, as long as they stick around long enough they’ll eventually get a 60 million dollar contract too. it just doesn’t work that way.

    UPDATE: Grizzlies owner has apparently told the press he offered Gasol to the Bulls but the Bulls turned down the trade because it would have required them to re-sign PJ Brown for the rest of the season to use what would then be his expiring deal. Doing so would have put the Bulls way over the cap and apparently Paxson or Reinsdorf through Paxson refused to go over the luxury tax limit.

    I don’t know what to think of this. It seems to me they could shed some contracts after the season and be in all right shape. Nobody’s bringing up the Duhon and Gordon = Kwame in terms of contract idea that I keep proposing, so maybe it’s impossible for some reason i don’t know about.

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