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John Paxson on Bulls plan to rebuild through young core

John Paxson

Prior to the 2017-18 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and bought out Dwyane Wade, who eventually signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With one of the youngest rosters in the league, many projected them to compete for the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

While the Bulls were trending in this direction with a 3-20 start, Nikola Mirotic’s return propelled them to an 18-30 record, highlighted by seven consecutive wins. Within this improvement, it appears the Bulls have somehow established a young core. In an interview with Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports, Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson discussed the team’s rebuilding process:

“I think the thing for us now is, we’re not starting from rock bottom,” Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “We’ve got these three young talents and you can throw Bobby Portis in, he fits the direction that we’re headed in. We feel we’re headed in the right direction. But we don’t want to oversell anything. We know to win at the highest level in this league you need the great players, and, hopefully, we’ve got one or two of them, somewhere on our roster, that we can grow with and hopefully make the decisions going forward to add to that.”

Although it is always difficult trading a four-time All-Star in his prime years away, it appears Chicago has currently made the right decision. In the trade with the Timberwolves, they received Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen — all who are showing their potential.

As with any rebuild, it will be interesting to see how Paxson and company build around LaVine, Dunn, and Markkanen. While the Bulls are fortunate to have a young core through the Butler trade, there will be challenges such as being patient with the team’s development or trying to speed up the process via trade or free agency.