CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13:  John Paxson, Vice President of Basketball Operations (L) and Gar Forman, General Manager of the Chicago Bulls, address the media following the Bulls last game of the season against the Philadelphia 76ers
at the United Center on April 13, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 115-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson told reporters Thursday night the decision to trade Jimmy Butler in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and a draft pick that turned into Lauri Markkanen was borne out of a desire to provide the franchise with a more stable long-term outlook. 

“We’ve set a direction,” Paxson said, according to the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson. 

“In the past, we’ve gone to the playoffs but not to the level we wanted to,” Paxson added, per The Athletic’s Sean Highkin. “We decided to make the change.”

Furthermore, Paxson confirmed the trade Minnesota proposed was the best one the Bulls had on the table. 

“This is the first opportunity where we felt a deal presented itself that made sense,” he said, according to the team’s official Twitter account. “We got three lottery picks today.”

While he avoided the term rebuild, Paxson intimated the Bulls would embrace that approach when he said the Bulls plan to be “disciplined and patient” while developing young players. 

One of the key fixtures among that group is Dunn, who projects as the Bulls’ floor general of the future. 

“We were very high on Kris last year,” Paxson said, per Highkin. “He was the fifth pick in the draft.”

General manager Gar Forman was also quick to praise Markkanen as he gets set to enter the fold as a floor-stretching big who can pressure defenses with his pinpoint three-point stroke while Dunn and LaVine slash to the bucket. 

“Lauri was the best player on the board…he’s a guy who fits our team and fits how the game is being played in the NBA,” Forman said, according to the Bulls’ official Twitter account. 

As for LaVine, Paxson let it be known the Bulls will “err on the side of caution” as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in February, per Johnson. 

Considering LaVine is on the mend, and both Dunn and Markkanen are works in progress, the road ahead figures to be littered with growing pains and losses. 

But if the Bulls can weather the initial storm and see their rebuild through, they should eventually reap the rewards of embracing the long view. 


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