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News » Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-05-09

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-05-09

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-05-09
General manager John Paxson will have his hands full this summer. The underachieving Bulls were picked by many to win the Eastern Conference, then sputtered home with a 33-49 record, moving last season's victory total into the loss column.

This roster needs an overhaul, but it won't be easy. The two leading scorers, guard Ben Gordon and forward Luol Deng, are restricted free agents, which means neither side has complete control over what happens.

Guard Kirk Hinrich, guard Larry Hughes and forward Andres Nocioni have large contracts that may be difficult to move. Younger players such as Tyrus Thomas, Thabo Sefolosha and Joakim Noah haven't reached their potential and may not have much trade value.

They'll most likely have the No. 9 pick in the draft, but will probably have to pass on signing free agents because their payroll will be getting close to the luxury-tax threshold.

So when it comes to revamping the roster this summer, the Bulls are basically at the mercy of what other teams are willing to give up in a trade.

The first order of business, though, is settling on a coach, and Paxson wasted no time firing Jim Boylan, who finished the season with a personal 24-32 record after Scott Skiles was dismissed on Dec. 24.

Asked where the Bulls failed this season, Boylan wasn't afraid to offer honest criticism of the players before the season-ending victory over Toronto.

"I think our lack of maturity as a team," he said. "I thought we were at a different place. At times this year we let things bother us that I thought we were past. I thought we had a formula for how to be successful and everybody understood it. But it seemed like as you reflect back on the season that that wasn't the case."

The Bulls' list of coaching candidates is expected to include Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Carlisle, Terry Porter, Mike Fratello and Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: For lack of a true highlight, it might be the 135-121 victory over Denver on Feb. 22. The game was played the day after Ben Wallace and Joe Smith were sent to Cleveland and before newcomers Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes were cleared to play. That night, the Bulls' core group of young players actually seemed enthused about sharing the ball and recorded a rare win over a good Western Conference team.

TURNING POINT: The only candidate is Oct. 31, a harrowing Halloween night in New Jersey that set the stage for a brutally disappointing season. The coaching staff felt the team looked terrific during the first two weeks of training camp. But by opening night of the regular season, top scorers Ben Gordon and Luol Deng had turned down the team's offers for contract extensions, Kobe Bryant trade rumors dominated the locker room and the Bulls lost in overtime to the Nets, the first of four straight losses to open the season. Things never got any better.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2008


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