While there has been skepticism that Bulls executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson will relinquish all of his front office power when the team hires a new executive, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that Paxson is prepared to do whatever is best for the franchise.
As Cowley details, Paxson is “all for” stepping aside and moving into more of an advisory role in the new front office structure, which is what has been rumored in recent weeks.
However, the veteran Bulls executive is willing to go even further than that, according to Cowley, who hears that Paxson would step down from the organization entirely if ownership and management felt that was in the team’s best interests amidst the latest rebuild.
Cowley’s source “insists” that Paxson is prepared for either scenario and that he’s not simply saying what he thinks everyone wants to hear. Still, the timing of the report is interesting. The Bulls haven’t had a ton of luck securing interviews with their first wave of candidates — Pacers GM Chad Buchanan and Heat assistant GM Adam Simon will remain with their current teams, and it sounds like Raptors GM Bobby Webster likely will too.
It’s possible that some of those candidates – hearing that Paxson would remain in a prominent role – were skeptical that they’d truly have “full authority” on basketball decisions in Chicago’s front office. The latest rumblings out of Chicago may be intended to show other candidates that they won’t be reporting to Paxson.
It’s still hard to imagine team owner Jerry Reinsdorf – a longtime Paxson backer – asking him to leave the organization altogether, but K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago stresses that Paxson is willing to “take as small a role as the new hire wants.”
For what it’s worth, Cowley notes in a separate report that Paxson didn’t participate in Monday’s interview with Jazz GM Justin Zanik, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said in Monday’s tweet that Zanik was interviewing for the “executive VP of basketball operations” job, which is Paxson’s current title.